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Yellow Name Root
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Yellow Name root is a cylindrical, irregular-shaped tuber. The Yellow Name root, also known as Guinea yam, is a tropical plant that has vines that can climb to a height of 12 meters. The Yellow Name tuber has spiky, thorny stems, broad green leaves and purple flowers aboveground. Each Yellow Name tuber is typically 2 kilograms to 5 kilograms in weight, but can grow to 25 kilograms. Yellow Name roots have dark brown, thick, bark-like skins. When cut open, the Yellow Name root has a yellow to pink-orange interior flesh. The flesh is dense and mealy with a starchy, chewy texture that turns creamy when cooked. Its flavor is mildly nutty and sweet. Yellow Name roots can be used in recipes that call for sweet potatoes.
Yellow Name roots are available year-round.
Yellow Name (pronounced “nyah-may”) is botanically classified as Dioscorea cayenensis. There is also a white variety in the same family, classified as Dioscorea Rotundata. The Yellow Name root, is not cultivated as much as the white variety, perhaps because it takes longer to mature. Yellow Name root is harvested after around 12 months, while the white variety takes just 6 to 8 months. Yellow Name is also known as the Yellow Guinea yam in Africa and Yellow yam in Jamaica and other areas of the tropics. Yellow Name roots contain raphides, a naturally occurring oxalate which disappears when cooked, but which may irritate the skin when the root is freshly cut.
Yellow Name roots can contain up to 91% carbohydrate. Yellow Name also contains vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, carotenoids, and some protein.
Yellow Name roots are a versatile vegetable. They can be used in soups and stews, and may be baked, steamed, scalloped, fried or creamed. They can be eaten plain, or with a sauce or gravy. Yellow Name pairs well with savory seasonings, hot sauces, mustard sauces and dressings. A common preparation is to mash them, then shape them into a cake or patty, and fry them. They may also also be cut into strips, and fried like a potato chip. The skin is often removed before use. Store Yellow Name roots whole in aerated plastic bags or containers. They can be stored in a cool, dark, dry area for up to one week.
Yellow Name roots are used in numerous ways in Africa. A traditional method of preparation is to boil the tuber, then pound it to produce a thick dough. The dough is rolled into small balls, which are dipped into accompanying sauces and eaten (often without chewing). The peeled tuber may be cut into small chips, then dried and milled to make flour. The flour is mixed with boiling water to produce a paste, which is eaten at mealtimes. In West Africa, large Name roots are highly prized, and may be used in traditional religious ceremonies and cultural festivals, or may be exchanged as gifts. In Cuba, Name is often used for special occasions, and is considered a festival food.
The exact origins of Yellow Name roots are unknown. They are found wild in the forests of West Africa. The Yellow Name root, while not as common as the White Name, is a staple food in Africa. Yellow Name occurs naturally from Senegal to Ethiopia and Uganda. Like the White Name, Yellow Name appears to have been domesticated as long as 10,000 years ago. They were introduced to Brazil and the Caribbean, possibly by way of slave ships. Yellow Names are now found also found in Central and East Africa, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea. Yellow Name thrives in warm, tropical climates with heavy rainfall.