Yams: Tips and Tricks

For those unfamiliar with international cuisine, yams can be downright perplexing. The African tuber is nothing like an American “yam,” and is actually more akin to a russet potato, albeit with a rougher skin and larger volume. Once you dive into the world of true “yams,” it doesn’t take much to become a certified pro! Get started with these tips and tricks.

  •  To find the best yams, look for ones that are firm and unblemished. Additionally, you may find precut yam chunks at your local market. If that’s the case, avoid any that are refrigerated, as excess cold will quickly tarnish the flavor profile.
  • Just because they don’t share the orange hue of sweet potatoes, it doesn’t mean that yams can’t get colorful. When selecting, be on the lookout for purple and red-fleshed varieties alongside the standard white yam!
  • Once your yams have made it into your kitchen, store them in a cool, dark area with decent airflow. Whole yams should last about ten days, but be aware that precut yams have a much shorter shelf-life.
  • Not sure if you need to peel your yam? Typically, you can cook small yams in their skin, but you should always peel large yams beforehand. We’d recommend blanching large yams before use if time allows.
  • Did you know? Yams are actually toxic if served raw, so be sure to cook them throughly!
  • The hearty, starchy texture of yams holds up in a variety of cooking methods from roasting to mashing! As a general rule, any method that works for russet potatoes can be used for yams.
    • Pro Tip: Due to its starchiness, you may need to use more oil or butter when cooking with yams.