Object: Manioc press

Manioc press
Unknown Lowland Amazonian tribe
South America: possibly Colombia
Unknown date
Materials: Plant fibers

Manioc, also called yuca or cassava, a woody shrub native to South America, is extensively grown by native groups of South

America and Africa for its edible starchy root. This root, which somewhat resembles a sweet potato, is a major source of carbohydrates for these groups despite containing dangerous levels of a cyanide-like substance called prussic acid. Careful preparation is required to eliminate the poisonous substance from the tuber prior to eating. This substance, while potentially harmful to humans, helps to naturally protect the plant from pests and insects. Many South American tribes use a press similar to the one shown above

to help eliminate the poison from their manioc. In South America, manioc is typically processed by peeling and grating the tuber and then rinsing, straining and pressing the liquids out until the remaining material forms a flour-like powder. The manioc flour is then typically used for making breads, though today manioc flour (also sometimes called tapioca flour) is becoming popular as a gluten-free food source and thickener.

The following video shows the process of harvesting, processing, and using manioc in Guyana.

Similar manioc presses can be found in the Peabody Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of Ethnology in Japan and others.

[Kathryn S. (Barr) McCloud]

0 Responses to “Object: Manioc press”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Ethnology @ SNOMNH is an experimental weblog for sharing the collections of the Division of Ethnology at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,686 other followers

%d bloggers like this: