The Tuberous plant of yam is a major crop in Africa, with Nigeria accounting for 60% of the world’s production and 74% of the total production of West Africa. The tuber is the most important part of the yam plant and is used to produce starch-based food. However, the exact timing of the onset of maturity is unclear, making it difficult for farmers to know the most productive time to harvest the crop.
Traditionally, farmers used subjective methods to determine when to harvest the yams, which hampered the quality of the produce. They estimated the harvest date by counting the length of the yam tubers, calculating the date of planting, and examining the age of different parts of the plant. In addition, they used the percentage of yam tubers that were white at harvest and the bitter taste after cooking to determine the best time to harvest the yams.
Easy to prepare
You can use a microwave oven to cook yams for dinner. It takes around 15 minutes to cook a new yam, while a mature one will take about 20 to 25 minutes. In either case, the yam should be cooked until a fork can easily penetrate it.
You can also prepare yam for dinner by boiling it. This simple preparation is quick and easy to make, and requires only a few ingredients. Salt is a good addition, and some people also add sugar. It can be eaten alone or with a stew or omelette.
Hardy in USDA zone 5
Yam, also called Chinese yam or cinnamon vine, is an excellent alternative to potato. This tuber, which comes from northern Japan, grows in cold climates and is a superior alternative to traditional potatoes. Yams can tolerate temperatures as low as -20 deg C and take two to three years to reach full maturity. A well-grown yam will grow to a weight of 500 grams.
Yam is hardy in USDA zones 5 and 6. This versatile root vegetable is hardy in most USDA zones. However, the planting time varies by zone. In zone 8, it is safe to plant potatoes in early spring if there are no frosts forecast. Potatoes need cool temperatures and plenty of moisture. These roots can be planted directly into the ground or in buckets.
Related to sweet potatoes
While yams and sweet potatoes are closely related, they are actually two distinct species. Both are starchy, tuber-like plants from the morning glory family. Although the two varieties are often confused, they are similar enough to have similar cooking methods. In the United States, the sweet potato is the most common form of the yam, while the true yam is usually only found in specialty markets or in the cuisine of South or African countries.
Sweet potatoes are native to Central and South America, while yams are native to Africa and Asia. Though both are tubers, sweet potatoes are sweeter than yams. The tubers of yams are edible and can be purchased peeled or whole.
Origin of the term yam
The word yam is derived from the African word nyami, which means “to eat or taste”. These words were first used in the Americas by enslaved Africans, who used the term to describe sweet potatoes. The slave trade spread these terms far and wide, and eventually the term yam was coined.
In the Septuagint, the term Yam Suph means “red sea” in Greek. This term reflects the geographic knowledge of the Septuagint translators, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt.