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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