This past weekend was nice. Not whirlwind busy, as is the norm for life with an 11 year-old daughter, but we did get to watch the final game of said Munchkin’s winter basketball season. This is something that Mr. Farie and I are immensely grateful for, as the past 14 weeks have been full of two practices, plus a game, per week.
One of the surprises, that made up our weekend, was a visit from Mr. Farie’s parents. They nearly always come bearing gifts of some sort or another and this weekend was no different. The gift? A 40 pound box of Yams. Yes, yams. In March. What, pray tell, can I do with all those yams? I set out on a quest. I decided to be my own Alton Brown.
First of all, my research led to the discovery that all these years I’ve been calling yams, well, yams, when in fact, they are actually sweet potatoes. Real yams are a tuber that grow on a tropical vine, and can grow up to seven feet in length and are actually sweeter than our American version.
I also learned that the yam can be used for many things. It is used to dye cloth, and some yam plants are cultivated as ornamental plants for their attractive foliage. The biological classification, IPOMOEA, that contains the sweet potato, also includes several garden flowers called morning glories. It is also used as a source of livestock feed, and in Peru, they use yams in some of their ceramics. In the past 20 years, wild yam cream has been created and used as a natural source of progesterone and used as a natural solution for hormone replacement therapy.
Many of the different states celebrate this tuber with annual festivities. In Vardaman, Mississippi, self-proclaimed Sweet Potato Capital, the National Sweet Potato Festival is celebrated the first week of November.
This mighty tuber is packing some serious nutrition, too! Full of complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta carotene, as well as other vitamins, this veggie has earned the highest nutritional ranking compared to other veggies.
Yam recipes are plentiful! I discovered tons of mashed yam recipes (think Thanksgiving), as well as sweet potato fries, pies, puddings, and even a vegan dish of black bean and sweet potato enchiladas. I even discovered that there is a spicy condiment called “Cackalacky” made with the yam.
Anyhow, I’ve alway wanted to create my own episode for Alton Brown. I’ve discovered that it’s hard for me to be funny when I am learning something. I guess I’ll leave the other episodes to him. Would anyone care for some yams?