Monday, April 23, 2018

Making farina: A popular Amazon topping that (WARNING) may break your teeth!

Farina is a staple food source of the Amazon made from yuca (cassava).  It may also be made and sold to produce an income.  However, this tasty nutty-flavored food topping, if eaten incorrectly, may break your teeth!

These bags sell in Leticia for $2 USD per kilo 
In this blog post we are showing off La Libertad's newest farina processing plant.  This allows the villagers to produce a higher quality (less likely to break teeth) farina in less time and under safer conditions for the makers.

And at the end of the post we will explain how to safely eat farina and avoid a trip to your favorite dentist.

Gasoline-powered yuca grater.  This makes a finer farina.

The yuca mash is then placed into large bags which are pressed to remove water.

One thing missing was a good oven to roast the farina.
In this picture we are collecting river clay to build an oven.

While the clay was messy, if was a very fun activity for a hot day.

We are building the frame for the oven.  A large steel pan is
placed over the frame to help with its formation.

Cutting grass which will be mixed into the clay.

The grass helps to improve the insulating qualities of the oven's walls.

At last the oven is finished!  Earlier ovens were made from mud, which did
not insulate well and would deteriorate quickly.

Toasting farina.  The good walls and one opening helps to shield
the toaster's legs and body from the heat of the oven.

It takes three to four hours to roast one big batch of farina.  This farina is almost
finished, but the kids can't wait to try it!

How to eat farina:
  1. First, look at the coarseness of the farina.  If it has large particles that seem to be very hard, ONLY use it in soups or other hot, moist dishes.
  2. Sprinkle about two tablespoons per serving.
  3. If the farina is of good quality and finely ground, you may put it on anything (ice cream?).  It may even be eaten plain by the cupful, as enjoyed by the children of the village.
  4. Chew farina only with the back teeth.

Why we are very happy with the farina plant of La Libertad

We, the Amazon Pueblo project, are very happy with the farina plant.  The plant is helping the villagers to make high quality farina which they can eat and/or sell for profit.

But another reason is more important.  They borrowed the money for part of the plant, which they are repaying.  They also built much of the plant by themselves.  And it is used almost weekly.  This is one of our most successful projects.

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