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A tuber, common in Asia, Africa, and many tropical countries, that can range in size from several ounces to over 100 pounds. Yam is a term that is often used when referring to various types of sweet potatoes, such as a Louisana yam, an orange-fleshed sweet potato. For marketing purposes, several Louisana varieties such as the Red Garnet were labeled as "yams" to distinguish them from other 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, slightly smoky in taste, or nutty and only moderately sweet. 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. Their dense flesh can be an off-white color to pale yellow or slightly pinkish orange with a very starchy texture.

Select 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 to be blanched for approximately 15 minutes or so. Since they are similar to potatoes, 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 flavorful seasonings, spicy or mustard sauces, or various dressings.

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

USDA Nutrition Facts

Serving Size1 cup, cubes
Total Fat0g
Total Carbohydrates27g
Dietary Fiber4g
Serving Size0.5 cup, cubes
Total Fat0g
Total Carbohydrates16g
Serving Size1 cup, cubes
Total Fat0g
Total Carbohydrates26g
Dietary Fiber3g

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