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Mukago potatoes are very tiny and round, about the size of the tip of your finger. They have a rich flavor and aroma of a Japanese yam. Their leaves are thin and long.
Mukago potatoes are available during fall.
Mukago potatoes are in the Dioscoreaceae family. Unlike typical potatoes they grow on a vine rather than underground. For this reason some people refer to them as 'air-potatoes'. Mukago potatoes fall off the vine very easily when they are ripe.
Mukago potatoes contain enzymes called Amylase and Arginine that aid in digestion and improve fertility. Mannan and galactan polysaccharides are sticky components of Mukago potatoes. They can boost metabolism and help to preserve the youthful appearance of skin.
Mukago potatoes taste best when they are fried in oil and salted, or boiled lightly and served with rice. However, Mukago potatoes can be eaten raw. Mukago potatoes have a relatively long shelf life as long as they are stored in a cool dry place. A refrigerator is ideal. Avoiding moisture will prevent mold from growing on the potatoes once they are plucked off of the vine.
From mid September to the early December Mukago potatoes can be found growing wild in the mountains of Japan or occasionally in a city park. The main prefectures in Japan that grow Mukago potatoes are Hokkaido, Aomori prefecture and Nagano prefecture.