Taro

Taro is a starchy root crop with edible leaves and has provided good nutrition to Pacific Islanders for hundreds of years.

It is known by several names; taro, talo, dalo. Varieties of taro vary in colour and size.

Taro is not grown commercially in New Zealand and all supplies are imported from the Pacific Islands.

What to look for

When taro is fresh the skin looks healthy and slightly moist. Avoid taro with dry or soft patches on the skin.

Availability

All year.

Store

Store in a cool dark, well ventilated place.

How to prepare

Avoid possible itchy skin by wearing kitchen gloves when preparing.

Taro root: Wash well. It can be scraped and peeled but leave the skin on if possible. Cut into similar sized pieces so that they will cook at the same rate. Cook well to prevent allergic reactions.
Taro leaves: Trim stalks, remove thick veins. Wash well. Taro leaves must be cooked thoroughly to eliminate toxins. Boiling; bring to the boil, drain then reboil in fresh water.

Ways to eat

Taro can be boiled, steamed, or oven-baked, however, must be cooked thoroughly to prevent mouth and throat itching caused by a substance in raw taro called calcium oxalate. The leaves have the same itching effect if not cooked properly. Boil taro, drain, then reboil in fresh water or coconut cream (diluted with milk if wished).

Cooking Methods

Taro: bake (root), boil, steam.

Nutrition

TARO
Baked
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 135g
  Average
Quantity
per serving 
% Daily
intake per
serve 
Average
Quantity
per 100g 
 
Energy (kJ/Cal) 691/165 8% 512/122  
Protein (g) 1.8 4% 1.3  
Fat, total (g) 1.8 3% 1.3  
 - saturated (g) 1.5 6% 1.1  
Carbohydrate (g) 33.3 11% 24.7  
 - sugars (g) 3.0 3% 2.2  
Dietary fibre (g) 4.2 14% 3.1 A good source of dietary fibre
Sodium (mg) 0 0  0  
Folate (µg) 74 37% RDI* 55 A good source of folate
Zinc (mg) 3.2 27% RDI* 2.4 A good source of zinc
Vitamin E (mg) 2.2 22% RDI* 1.6 A source of vitamin E
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.28 18% RDI* 0.21 A source of vitamin B6
Niacin (mg) 1.4 14% RDI* 1.0 A source of niacin
Vitamin C (mg) 4.2 11% RDI* 3.1 A source of vitamin C
Potassium (mg) 540   400 Contains potassium
Iron (mg) 0.81 7% RDI* 0.6  
Thiamin (mg) trace 0% RDI* trace  

Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs.
*Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)

Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 10th Edition, Plant & Food Research - 2014

Taro is high in carbohydrate, greater than potato, and consequently one of the highest vegetable sources of energy.  It is also a good source of dietary fibre, folate, and zinc plus a source of vitamins C, E and B6 plus niacin.

Retailing

Customers may not know how to use taro, so use the QR code on labels. Talk to Pacific Island customers for ideas.

Store at 7-10°C with a relative humidity of 85-95%. Lower temperatures can cause chilling damage.

Recipes

White taro with coconut water and spring onions
White taro with coconut water and spring onions

A tasty starchy dish - ideal to serve with grilled meats and chicken. View Recipe

View more Recipes

Images

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