Malanga is a root vegetable popular in the tropics and Africa. Malanga is the most popular form of cocoyam. Malanga Blanca is considered the true Malanga, which grows on dry land.Malanga is about the size and shape of a regular white potato and its outside skin is brown and somewhat hairy. The interior has a crisp texture and its color varies from cream to yellow to pink.
Origin: West Africa, Ghana Availability: Year-Round
Cocoyam is an important food crop for more than 400 million people worldwide, especially in the tropics and subtropics, and is a major source of vitamin A, Iron, Magnesium and Zinc, which could help in the formation of baby foods and meeting nutritional needs.
It is a good source of carbohydrates and minerals and the leaves have quite substantial amounts of proteins and vitamins. It consists 63.6-72.4% moisture, 21.1-26.2% starch and 1.75-2.57% crude protein and provides total energy in the range of 97.1-118.3 kcal/100 g fresh cocoyams.
The corms have reasonably high contents of potassium (K) and magnesium (Mg) and are moderately good sources of water soluble vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin and ascorbic acid, compared to other tropical roots.
Essential amino acid contents are fairly good except for the sulphur containing amino acids such as tryptophan and histamine. The leaves are rich in β-carotene and ascorbic acid and have great potential to qualify as good vegetables for hypersensitive, diabetic and obese people due to their anti-oxidant properties.
Cocoyam was introduced to Ghana in 1843 by the West Indian missionaries. It was first planted at Akropong, Akwapim from where it gradually spread through the forest belt, following the cultivation of cocoa for whose young seedlings cocoyam provides ideal shade.