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Yama root Tsukune Imo is easily distinguished by the rough, rusted earth colored bark-like scales of its skin. Its flesh is translucent white, dry and starchy. Grating or cooking the root's flesh reveals its thick glue-like texture. Lacking obvious flavor, the roots flesh is used for its textural properties. It is primarily used as an additive or liaison ingredient and a binder.
Yama root makes sporadic appearances throughout the year.
Their are 600 species of of the Yama root (yam), countless species growing wild in damp woodlands. Varieties vary in sizes, shape and consistency. This particular variety of yam is known as Tsukune Imo, the root of a perennial climbing vine with rough brown spherical-ovoid rootstocks. The plants bear horizontal creeping stems and branches.
Yama root Tsukune Imo is rich in carbohydrates, potassium and the digestive enzyme, amylase. It has long been used in herbal medicine for its health benefitting properties.
Add the Yama root to flavor stews, soups, casseroles and oriental stir-fries. Experiment with the yama root to add extra flavor and texture to a variety of savory dishes. Sprinkle cooked Yama root with different favorite seasonings and spices to enhance its subtle flavor. To store, wrap in plastic; refrigerate in crisper drawer.
The Yama root is native to Japan and has been cultivated there sine the Stone Age. It grows throughout China, Korea and Japan. After harvest, yama roots are often cut into smaller pieces and stored in sawdust to protect their moisture content and texture.