If you haven’t heard of fermenting Yucca, you’ll be even more surprised at the traditional method of brewing this alcoholic drink.
History of Fermenting Yucca
Yucca is an ancient alcoholic drink made in the Peruvian rainforest, often named Masato. Nobody knows how long it has been around for, but they expect it has been thousands of years. There is a reference in a book from historian Antonio de Leon Pinelo which was written in 1636 about Latin American cuisine.
Masato is mainly made by the women of the tribe and is not made for people to get drunk, but as a meal. The Amazonians don’t often eat lunch, so drinking masato is an important source of carbohydrates during the working day.
The way of making Masato may seem disgusting to us, but to them it is using their natural resources. You do this by boiling a big tuber of Yucca (eating raw yucca can be dangerous). Then they peel, mash and chew it for up to 30 mins. Next you spit it out (yes you read correctly!) and left to sit for a few days. The enzymes in saliva breach down the starch in Yucca and turn it into sugar, which is perfect for hungry yeast! The end result comes out a creamy-white colour with an alcohol content of around 2 to 6 percent.
The fermented yucca drink isn’t very tasty by itself, so they add fruit and spices to the drink. Just like our modern day cocktails!
Masato is also used for social leverage. It is used at social gatherings as something to have over the other tribe, so they owe you! Women also use it to show if they are mad at the ment. For example, a woman may give the worst Masato or serve it to him last.
If you do ever get offered a bowl or glass or masato in Peru, it is a social faux pas to reject it. But, be aware, if you don’t have the appropriate vaccinations, you can catch diseases like Hepatitis B.
We are currently selling Yucca in our shop Overt Locke Ltd. Fancy trying to make your own?!
Picture from Wikipedia.