Taro is a plant that is also known as dasheen. The leaves and tuber roots (also called corms in botanical terms) are consumed.
Taro is native to South India and Southeast Asia. It is a perennial plant that is primarily grown for its root vegetable.
The root is slightly toxic when raw as it contains traces of calcium oxalate which contributes to the formation of kidney stones. It is generally recommended to eat the root cooked. It is even recommended to consume taro with foods high in calcium such as milk.
Taro is widely consumed in Africa, Oceania and South India. It is thought to be one of the oldest plants that was cultivated.
Taro root has a slightly purple color which is due to the presence of phenolic pigments .
The leaves are usually prepared by boiling them twice to remove the acrid taste. The leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C and contain more protein than the roots.
Nigeria is the largest producer of taro in the world. There, it is called cocoyam.
Where can you find taro?
You can generally find taro in African or Asian markets. In Los Angeles, you can find taro at Filipino market Seafood City.