The History of Yam
A yam is a tuber which is grown
all year round in tropical countries. This particular healthy
vegetable is often mistaken for the sweet potato, however, yams
and sweet potatoes share some similarities i.e. they are both
starchy root vegetables and tubers but they are separate types
Yams cannot be grown in normal
climates as they require hot tropical weather for cultivation.
The history of yams dates back thousands of years. Many
varieties of yam are thought to have first originated in parts
of the world such as China, Africa and America. This tropical
vegetable was introduced to other countries during the 16th
century as a consequence of the slave trade.
Varieties of Yam
There are many different types of yams including the Indian yam
(cush-cush), the great yam, the sweet yam and the Chinese yam.
The greater yam has reached record weights of approximately 150
Many of the yams which we
recognize, particularly available for sale in Europe, have
thick, tough, brown whiskery skin and are similar in size to
large potatoes. Yam flesh is typically white, creamy or red in
Preparing Yam for Cooking
When selecting yams for cooking, always look for ones with firm
skin that is undamaged. Nice, healthy yams will have creamy
moist flesh. An interesting fact about yams which is very
different to the ordinary potato, is that they contain a poison
under the skin which produces an allergic reaction. Athough it
is important to remove this layer directly under the skin, along
with the yam's skin, by cutting or peeling it away, the poison
is in fact eradicated during the cooking process. The name of
the poison is dioscorine. When peeling yams, you should wear
gloves and always discard of the the yam peelings carefully.
Remember to wash your hands
after preparing yam.
How to Cook Yam
Yam can be cooked in ways similar to those of the ordinary
potatoes. Yam can lose its color during the cooking process,
therefore, if you boil yam, use salted water to prevent this
from happening. This versatile root vegetable can be cooked in
many different ways including boiling, mashing, sautéing,
frying, baking and roasting.
Yams are used in many different,
special recipes. For example, some African yam recipes provide
instruction on how to make yam into a dough by pound boiling it
and serving it as an accompaniment to spicy stews and soups.
There are excellent yam recipes that are extremely tasty and