The roots of wild plants are generally unpleasantly acrid in flavour on account of the presence of crystals of calcium oxalate, which are clustered particularly thickly under the skin. Selection, even in very early times, of the least acrid plants has led to modern cultivated strains, some of which are mild enough to eat raw. However, the calcium oxalate problem can be overcome by peeling and cooking.
When properly prepared, taro has a light, mealy texture like a delicate, floury potato. The flavour is pleasant, light without being insipid, sometimes slightly sweet. As a staple food it provides mainly carbohydrates; it has less protein than potatoes or yams.