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June 28th is National Tapioca Day

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If you're looking for something to do today then let me help you out with that; it's National Tapioca Day!  There are many ways to enjoy this starchy root!  Let's get right into celebrating National Tapioca Day!

WHY IS THIS A HOLIDAY?  

Well first of all, tapioca is almost as versatile as potatoes; there are so many different kinds of edible tapioca goods out there! And when you have so many different types of ways to eat it, you are bound to build up more and more love for tapioca. The more widespread love you have for a food, the higher the chances that people are going to want to set aside a special day to celebrate it! And that's the reason for this holiday.  Tapioca is a starch that comes from the root of a plant species called Manihot esculenta, which is a native plant in places like Brazil and Colombia. The plant will have either red or green branches with blue spindles on them; sounds pretty colorful to me! But there is a toxin in this plant. The red variety isn't that harmful to humans so you can eat this directly but the green variety has to go through treatment to remove the toxin. You can be paralyzed with a disease called Konzo if you eat a ton of the under-processed tapioca for weeks. Yikes!

But you can get the tapioca starch in a powder form, sticks or even in flakes or pearls. All but the powder needs to be soaked in water to help rehydrate them. In the West Indies they have used it to make alcohol as well as toothpaste. In Southeast Asia they fry up strips of tapioca and serve it as chips. In Brazil they make a tortilla out of it and sprinkle coconut on it. And yes they even make flatbread, pudding and bubble tea out of tapioca.  How do you like your tapioca?

HOW TO CELEBRATE 

So, how can you celebrate today?  Well, if you want to go about things the easy way you can always make some tapioca pudding. And hey, I don't blame you one bit! I enjoy the taste of tapioca pudding and like chewing on the little pearls. But to me celebration is all about broadening your horizons and celebrating something to the fullest. So once you're done with your pudding, why don't you head to your local grocery store?  Scan your shelves and try to find different food that has tapioca starch in it. In fact, you might save a little time if you research the products online so you know what to look for. There are a TON of different tapioca products out there, so you're going to have a lot of fun sampling these I'm sure. Round up a bunch of tapioca goods and invite your friends over to munch them on down with you. You might find your new favorite treat today!  And if you are handy in the kitchen then you can look up some recipes that use tapioca starch or even experiment with it on your own if you want. A common thing for people to make is bubble tea, so maybe you could try that out. Just be sure to soak your tapioca pearls for a while so that they soften up and are chewy for you. Oh and you might want to invest in some really wide straws so you can enjoy the bubble tea how it's supposed to be sipped on. Those pearls won't fit up a regular straw ;).  Enjoy your day and get tapioca wasted!





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