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This item was last sold on : 05/17/17
The Japanese yam is unlike a sweet potato in its skin color and flesh. It is roughly oblong in shape with a thin, rusted red colored skin, and a densely textured cream colored flesh. The flesh is dry, starchy and subtly sweet. The skin retains the bitter flavor of the root and it is recommended to peel the potato prior to eating.
A winter vegetable, the peak season for Japanese yams is fall to spring.
The Japanese yam, is also commonly known as mountain yam, satsuma imo and kotobuki, is a sweet yam variety that is only distantly related to the potato. It is a root vegetable and a member of the Dioscoreaceae family, which houses predominantly perennial herbaceous vines. The yam is the tuber part of the plant, most often storing nutrients and energy in the form of carbohydrates and water, which sustains the plant's growth and ability to survive adverse conditions.
The nutritional value of the yam is principally as a source of carbohydrates, though if eaten in large quantities it can provide a substantial amount of protein, thiamin and vitamin C.
The Japanese yam is native to regions of China and Japan, areas that are much colder than most yam cultivars can survive. Its first known cultivation can be dated back to 50,000 BC. It was introduced to Europe during the 19th Century potato blight as an alternative to the white fleshed potato. The Japanese yam was brought to Hawaii by Japanese immigrants and is still cultivated there today.