Characteristics of the Yucca plant
The Yucca plant, in its most common variety, the Yucca Elephantipes or Guatemalensis, is an evergreen plant and has a woody stem with the typical "elephant foot" shape (this explains the origin of the name "elephantipes") with markings of gray color, at the top of which there are one or more groups of lanceolate leaves. These are of a beautiful bright green, shiny and pointed that, during maturity, they soften and sag. From the central region of the plant, long stems emerge which, at times, can give life to inflorescences. The flowers (in the local dialect "Izote") are small, pure white or cream and are unlikely to bloom in environments other than the original one. In its natural habitat, the plant can even reach considerable dimensions, with a height that can reach 15 meters.
Cultivation in apartment of the Yucca plant
The Iucca develops properly if placed in a sunny place. The soil must contain peat and garden soil in the same proportion and, being a plant with a poorly developed root system, it will be sufficient to use a container that is not too large. The Iucca does not need special attention because it is an extremely resistant plant, however, it is good to water it often in summer and every two weeks, in the remaining periods of the year. To increase its growth it is possible to fertilize it with a liquid product for green plants , which will be used in the months from April to September and every 30 days. If the stem becomes too long and its leaves remain only in an apical position, it is good to prune the plant to force it to produce new shoots.
Beneficial properties of the Yucca
We often hear of the beneficial properties of the Iucca but we should learn to recognize the yucca plant from the yucca root, also known as cassava. The species of Yucca on which more detailed research has been carried out are the Schidigera and the Gloriosa. These varieties are characterized by the high content of saponins, phenols, polycyclic terpenes and steroidal glycosides. In particular, the Yucca is rich in: ellagic acid (antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial), tannic acid (antibacterial, antienzymatic, astringent, antioxidant and antimutagen), quercitin, cinnamic acid and 2 hydroxycinnamic (all powerful antihistamines, anti-inflammatories and antioxidants) and gallic acid (antimicrobial and antiviral). Furthermore, the saponins contained in Iucca significantly lower blood cholesterol levels and many studies have confirmed the importance of their role in preventing colon cancer. Furthermore, Yucca contains B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium.
Yucca plant: The uses of the Yucca in the kitchen
Among the Caribbean populations, the Iucca is often used in the kitchen to formulate tasty recipes such as, for example, the "Yuca Frita". The ingredients for the preparation of this dish are: a couple of Yucca roots, sunflower oil and salt ( as needed). The roots are peeled and cut into pieces, similar in size to a potato chip. Put the strips in a pan with plenty of salted water, bring to the boil and add one or two cups of cold water, letting the Iucca cook until it becomes soft. Once this is done, the sticks of Iucca are extracted, left to cool and then fried in hot oil until they reach a golden brown color. Remove from the pan and, after salting them, serve hot.