How to Peel a Taro

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If you’ve ever attended a Hawaiian luau, then you’ve eaten taro in the pasty side dish known as poi. While poi is usually an acquired taste, it shouldn’t put you off taro as a vegetable, especially the starchy, sweet potatolike corm, or stem, which is a staple ingredient in Pacific Island, African and West Indian cuisine. Never handle or peel raw taro, however, as the skin and flesh contain calcium oxalate, a skin irritant neutralized by cooking the root.

Things You'll Need

  • Latex or rubber gloves
  • Taro root
  • Large saucepan
  • Water
  • Cutting board
  • Kitchen paring knife

Put on latex or rubber gloves, and wash taro root well under running water.

Place taro root in saucepan, and fill with water until the root is covered.

Boil the taro root in the saucepan for approximately 10 minutes to blanch the root and neutralize the calcium oxalate irritants.

Remove taro root and place on cutting board. Allow it to cool slightly.

Peel the taro using a paring knife by inserting the knife just slightly beneath the skin, and guiding it along the taro's flesh, keeping the cuts as shallow and close to the skin as possible.

Repeat Step 5 until all the taro skin has been removed.

Use the taro as called for in a recipe, or you can complete cooking it much like you would a potato -- roasted, boiled or baked.

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