Taro is a starchy root (or corm) crop with edible leaves. Varieties of taro vary in colour and size, but most commonly have a light brown rough skin and a cream to pink flesh. Its texture is often compared to potato and, similarly, should not be eaten raw. The flavour is slightly nuttier, however, and it is used in sweet and savoury dishes.
Roots are most commonly harvested around 8–12 months after planting when they have stopped growing and leaves have begun to die back. The corm should have no sprouts and be free from cuts, insects and disease damage. After washing and then cutting corms to remove diseased tissue, they should be dried (cured) so that wound healing can occur. Curing should be done at 20–30°C, then cooled to control further disease development.
Postharvest storage temperature
The storage recommendation is 7–10°C with good ventilation. Chilling injury leads to pitting and increased postharvest disease.
Controlled atmosphere storage
No information on benefits of modified atmosphere available.
Taro roots have a very low ethylene production; there is no known response of taro roots to ethylene application.
Optimal storage is 80–95% relative humidity.
Disease & infection
Pythium root rot can be a major problem in wetland taro. Corm rots can also be associated with a complex of microorganisms, including fusarium, sclerotinia, erwinia, botryodiplodia and ceratocystis.
Taro should be cooked before eating and leave the skin on if possible. In cooking studies, boiling has shown to reduce key nutrients, but not below 10% of the RDI per serve.