Name Yam

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A tuber which is common in Asia, Africa, and many tropical countries, that can range in size from several ounces to over 50 pounds. Yam is the term that is often used to refer to various types of sweet potatoes, such as the Louisana yam, basdically a sweet potato with an orange flesh. The usage of the term "yam" was created for marketing purposes in Louisana. Some Louisana potatoes, such as the Red Garnet were labeled as "yams" when they were just beginning to be marketed to consumers. The term "yam" was used as a way to distinguish this vegetable from different varieties of sweet potatoes. However, a true yam which is not related to the sweet potato, is very different in taste and shape. It is a hearty tuber that does not have the sweeter taste of a sweet potato, but instead may have flavors that range from bland, to earthy, to slightly smoky, or mildly sweet and nutty. The shape of the yam can be oblong, tapered or round with a thick outer skin that is dark brown and bark-like, ranging from smooth to shaggy in appearance such as a "name" yam. Their dense flesh can be an off-white color to pale yellow or slightly pinkish orange with a very starchy texture.

Select Name yams that are not discolored, bruised, or soft to the touch. They should not show signs of distress or mold.

To prepare, a yam must be peeled with a knife, to remove its bark-like skin. After peeling, submerge the white flesh in cold water to keep it from turning dark in color. Cut the yam into pieces or slices and place in boiling salt water so it can be blanched for approximately 15 minutes or so. Since they are similar to potatoes, Name yams can be prepared using many of the same methods used for sweet potatoes. When cooked, various varieties of yams develop a somewhat creamy flesh while other varieties remain firm. All yams absorb liquids exceptionally well, so after cooking, their flavor can be enhanced easily by adding seasonings, hot sauces, mustard sauces, and dressings. After baking a yam, the interior becomes somewhat fluffy in texture, like a potato. The Name Yam can be fried, baked, boiled, microwaved,or sauteed into yam chips by slicing off narrrow round pieces and baking, frying or sauteing.

Store yams in cool dry areas to decrease the chance of molding and spoilage. Yams stored in plastic containers or bags will also spoil easily if condensation is allowed to form inside the bag, so keep the yams in areas and containers providing a sufficient flow of air.

A Name yam is also known as true yam, greater yam, cush-cush, igname, mapuey, "Name" yam, nyami tropical yam, and yampi. The Name yam is pronounced "ny-AAH-MAY" Yam. It is a common yam produced in tropical regions such as Latin America.

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