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Delicious Yams!

ritau
09-01
Yam is the common name for some plant species in the genus Dioscorea (family Dioscoreaceae) that form edible tubers. Yams are perennial herbaceous vines cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers in many temperate and tropical regions, especially in Africa, South America and the Caribbean, Asia, and Oceania. The tubers themselves, also called "yams", come in a variety of forms owing to numerous cultivars and related species.



The name "yam" appears to derive from Portuguese inhame or Canarian (Spain) ñame, which derived from West African languages during trade. Although in both languages, this name is commonly referred to the plant taro (Colocasia esculenta) from the genus Colocasia, as opposed to Dioscorea.

The main derivations borrow from verbs meaning "to eat". True yams have various common names across multiple world regions.

A monocot related to lilies and grasses, yams are vigorous herbaceous vines providing an edible tuber. They are native to Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Some yams are also invasive plants, often considered a "noxious weed", outside cultivated areas. Some 870 species of yams are known, and 95% of these crops are grown in Africa.

Yam plants can grow up to 15 m (49 ft) in length and 7.6 to 15.2 cm (3 to 6 in) high. The tuber may grow into the soil up to 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) deep. The plant disperses by seed.



The edible tuber has a rough skin that is difficult to peel but readily softened by heating. The skins vary in color from dark brown to light pink. The majority of the vegetable is composed of a much softer substance known as the "meat". This substance ranges in color from white or yellow to purple or pink in mature yams.

A monocot related to lilies and grasses, yams are vigorous herbaceous vines providing an edible tuber.They are native to Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Some yams are also invasive plants, often considered a "noxious weed", outside cultivated areas. Some 870 species of yams are known, and 95% of these crops are grown in Africa.

Yam plants can grow up to 15 m (49 ft) in length and 7.6 to 15.2 cm (3 to 6 in) high.The tuber may grow into the soil up to 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) deep.The plant disperses by seed.

The edible tuber has a rough skin that is difficult to peel but readily softened by heating. The skins vary in color from dark brown to light pink. The majority of the vegetable is composed of a much softer substance known as the "meat". This substance ranges in color from white or yellow to purple or pink in mature yams.

Raw yam has only moderate nutrient density, with appreciable content (10% or more of the Daily Value, DV) limited to potassium, vitamin B6, manganese, thiamin, dietary fiber, and vitamin C (table). But raw yam has the highest potassium levels amongst the 10 major staple foods of the world (see nutritional chart). Yam supplies 118 calories per 100 grams. Yam generally has a lower glycemic index, about 54% of glucose per 150 gram serving, compared to potato products.

The protein content and quality of roots and tubers is lower than other food staples, with the content of yam and potato being around 2% on a fresh-weight basis. Yams, with cassava, provide a much greater proportion of the protein intake in Africa, ranging from 5.9% in East and South Africa to about 15.9% in humid West Africa.

As a relatively low-protein food, yam is not a good source of essential amino acids. Experts emphasize the need to supplement a yam-dominant diet with more protein-rich foods to support healthy growth in children.

Yam is an important dietary element for Nigerian and West African people. It contributes more than 200 calories per person per day for more than 150 million people in West Africa, and is an important source of income. Yam is an attractive crop in poor farms with limited resources. It is rich in starch, and can be prepared in many ways. It is available all year round, unlike other, unreliable, seasonal crops. These characteristics make yam a preferred food and a culturally important food security crop in some sub-Saharan African countries.
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