Pupuru, a cassava staple, is predominantly consumed in the Ilaje, Ikale, and Igbokoda areas of Ondo State.
To prepare it, cassava is harvested, peeled, washed, fermented, dehydrated, molded into large balls, and kept over a fireplace to smoke-dry in order to preserve. The fermentation and processing process removes the hydrocyanic acid while the smoking gelatinizes its starch granules, rendering it easily digestible by babies.
In Okitipupa, Ode Aiye, and other riverine areas of Ondo State, mothers use pupuru as a weaning diet for babies from four months old. They scrape off the smoky part, break the dried molded balls, pound them, and sieve out the powdered cassava flour. They stir the cassava in water till it becomes a watery paste. Adults, on the other hand, stir the powdered flour in hot water until it becomes a thick, congealed paste.
Although between four and six million people consume pupuru in Nigeria, it is not as popular as other cassava-made foods. This is because it is low in protein and other micro nutrients. For this reason, many dieticians advise that it should not be consumed by diabetics.
Research shows that the fortification of cassava with proteinous plants (through soups) has been known to upgrade the protein content of cassava staples like pupuru, eba, and fufu. One such popular accompanying soup among Ondo people is the marugbo soup, a traditional black soup prepared with marugbo, iteji, efinrin, akintola, and lapalapa leaves.
In Nigeria, relatively little research work has been done on processing cassava to pupuru flour. This lack of investment adversely affects the general distribution of the flour.
Pupuru is a major income-earning venture in Ondo State and plays a significant role in ensuring food security in many parts of southwest Nigeria.