Food by Letter Uncategorized

Food by Letter – Y is for Yam


What did the Sweet Potato say when it gained consciousness?

I think therefore I Yam.

Let’s cover the basics of this yam-azing starch. Yams are root vegetables, they are similar to sweet potatoes and related to lilies and grasses. There are about 600 species of yams found around the world, and most of them are native to the tropics. People started to cultivate yams (instead of digging up wild ones) as long as 10,000 years ago in both Africa and Asia. Today, the annual world production of yams is over 30 million tons, 95% of the world's yam crop is harvested in West Africa.

In the tropics, yams can grow to huge sizes, and in the Pacific Islands yams are referred to as 2 man, 4 man, or 6 man yams, depending on how many men it takes to lift them. Some have been recorded up to 600 pounds and 6 feet in length!

No matter how big they are, these tubers are highly nutritious. Chock full of fibers, minerals, and vitamins, yams are a healthy addition to any diet. Keep reading for a few of the top health highlights:

  • Yams may improve your brain function. They are rich in diosgenin, a special compound known for improving neuron growth and overall brain health. Diosgenin has contributed to enhanced memory and learning skills in scientific studies.
  • Yams play a major role in controlling your cholesterol levels. In a recent study, women who consumed 18 ounces of yams a day over 30 days saw a decrease in their cholesterol levels.
  • Yams are rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants and able to combat a number of long-term health conditions connected to chronic inflammation like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

FBL Recipes




Yams are an extremely adaptable ingredient and can be cooked in many different ways. To showcase this root veggie’s versatility we have a sweet recipe and a savory recipe for you to enjoy.

Savory: Baked Yam Fries with Spicy Hummus from Sincerely Tori. These are made with yams and baked to crispy perfection! The spicy hummus dipping sauce complements the sweetness of the potatoes. The perfect sweet, spicy, salty snack.


  • 4 yams (large, or sweet potatoes, washed)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups garbanzo beans (cooked, rinsed)
  • 1 tbsp Tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


To Make the Fries:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking tray with foil.
  2. Chop potatoes into matchsticks and toss with olive oil and seasoning in a large bowl, spread out in an even layer on a tray, and bake for 15 minutes. Then, remove from the oven and toss a little bit, then return to the oven and bake for 15 to 25 more minutes until crispy. Remove from the oven and season with more salt and pepper to taste.

To Make the Spicy Hummus:

  1. Combine all the ingredients for hummus in a small food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.

Sweet: Healthy Candied Yams from My Whole Food Life, try out this delicious healthy alternative to the holiday standard.


  • 1 yam (cubed)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg


  1. Preheat the oven to 400. 
  2. Slice the yam into 1-inch cubes. 
  3. Throw them in a pot of boiling water for about 5-7 minutes until they are slightly underdone.
  4. Transfer the yams to a greased baking pan. (For this recipe I used an 8x8 glass dish.) 
  5. In a measuring cup, mix the orange juice, 1T maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 
  6. Pour the mixture over the yams. 
  7. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. 
  8. For the last 2 minutes of cooking, pull the dish out and brush with the last tablespoon of maple syrup.  
  9. Enjoy!