Roots from taro are the best portions of the plant to consume. Often called the “potato of the tropics,” the root resembles that of other similar vegetables, and it often exudes a nutty flavor. Certain kinds of recipes also utilize cooked stems and leaves from the plant, but these portions are rarely eaten alone. The vegetable is often picked fresh and then used, but you can also purchase already-cooked versions in stores in tropical areas, where the plants are indigenous.
One of the reasons why this plant is a staple in many countries is due to the fact that it can be cooked in several different ways. Taro root can be sliced and then baked, boiled, or fried. As an alternative, you can even boil the roots whole. The best cooking method that you choose ultimately depends on your preferences in taste, but you should also keep in mind that fried dishes are not the healthiest of choices. Taro can be cut up and steamed, but this cooking method can take longer depending on the sizes of the roots that you choose.
The roots of the plant come in two sizes, and the best one you choose depends on how you want to cook it. Large taro is generally preferred by most people, because you can cook it any way you want. A large quantity of the root can go further and feed more people at once. The best large root should be firm and heavy, similar to that of a potato. Small taro plants contain roots that work the best for boiling because the food is more moist.
Unlike other types of root plants, taro cannot be eaten raw. The plant itself contains calcium oxalate, which can cause gastrointestinal effects when consumed in its original form. All types of cooking processes can remove the compound, making the plant safe for consumption. Although you might prefer purchasing raw taro, the best forms of the food are always cooked in order to prevent foodborne illnesses.