Inventory, 30 lbs : 2.66
This item was last sold on : 04/29/17
The Okinawan yam is ovate and tubular in shape often with slightly tapered ends. Their skin has a buff beige hue with spots and lines of earthy brown. Its flesh is violet purple in color, sometimes with white to lavender striations and offers a heavily starchy texture, a characteristic common by true yam standards but uncommon by sweet potato standards. When cooked its flavor is earthy yet incredibly sweet and offers a slightly dry but velvety texture. The young leaves and shoots of the Okinawan yam plant are edible as well and are known as kandaba in Okinawa.
Okinawan yams are available year-round with a peak season in late summer and late spring.
The Okinawan yam, also known as Okinawan sweet potato, is a dicotyledonous plant and botanically speaking a sweet potato rather than a true yam. In the United States, all non-white fleshed sweet potatoes are typically sold as yams even though botanically they are not. Botanically, the Okinawan yam is a member of Ipomoea batatas and part of the Convolvulaceae family. In recent years purple fleshed potatoes such as the Okinawan yam have experienced a surge in popularity as they have been recognized for their exceptionally nutritious nature by a multitude of experts on nutrition and diet such as the American Heart Association, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the American Cancer Society.
The Okinawan yam is celebrated for its highly nutritious nature and has long been used as a source of nutrition and sustenance. It is rich in vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin C, manganese, dietary fiber, and vitamin B6. Additionally, it offers magnesium, potassium, carotenoids, iron, protein, calcium, and naturally occurring sugars. An antioxidant powerhouse they offer radical-scavenging capabilities that rival that of many other purple-hued fruits and vegetables such as grapes and cabbage. Recent research has also shown that the Okinawan yam along with turmeric and green tea may have the ability to stimulate the FOX03 gene which is being studied for its ability to increase the lifespan of living things.
Cooked Okinawan yam retains its vibrant hue making it ideal for use in applications that highlight their coloring. They should always be cooked before serving and can be consumed with our without the skin still on though it is most often removed. They can be substituted in most recipes that call for sweet potatoes such as gnocchi, sweet potato pie, and sweet potato fries. They can be baked or roasted whole skin on then served as is or mashed. Halved or cut into chunks they can be steamed or boiled. When sliced into sticks or rounds then roasted or fried they make an excellent side dish or snack food served alongside dips. The young leaves of the Okinawan yam plant are also consumed and used commonly in miso soup or as a side dish. Their flavor is complemented by citrus zest, maple syrup, brown sugar, butter, sage, chipotle, cinnamon, nutmeg, bonito broth, bitter melon, pork, and fish. To store, keep Okinawan yams in a cool, dark and dry location.
The Okinawan yam (sweet potato) made up the bulk of the Okinawan population’s diet from the 1600’s all the way up until 1960. The long term consumption of these low calorie, nutrient-rich sweet potatoes is believed to be at least partially responsible for a large population of centenarians and older Okinawans that have not experienced many of the age-related diseases common around the world. Unfortunately diet and lifestyle changes post World War II have begun to impact the population’s health and longevity negatively. In Japan, the Okinawan yam is used not only as food but as a natural treatment for diabetes, anemia, and hypertension.
The sweet potato (yam) was first introduced to Okinawa around 1605 via China and was quick to become became widely cultivated. Its widespread growth would subsequently create a population boom as it eliminated a large degree of hunger-related deaths that had plagued Okinawa previously. Soon after sweet potatoes made their way to Japan where they were officially given the name Okinawan sweet potato or Kara-mmu. Like in many countries the sweet potato for a long time was known as a food of poverty and consumed more so out of need than for the pleasure of eating. During the past century, the Okinawan yam and other purple fleshed types have been touted as a super food which has proved to increase the demand for them in developed countries around the globe. In Okinawa, while consumption of them is no longer done so purely out of necessity to survive they are still enjoyed there for their flavor and nutritional benefits.
Restaurants currently purchasing this product as an ingredient for their menu.
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Recipes that include Okinawan Yams. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Wandering Chopsticks||Mashed Okinawan Sweet Potatoes|
|Connoisseurus Veg||Sweet Potato Sushi|
|Sweet Haute||Purple Sweet Potato Turnovers|
|The Jolly Tomato||Purple Potato Chips|
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