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Even more confusingly, the rest of the world can’t agree on what a yam is either! In the USA, ‘yam’ refers to Ipomoea batatas, which is basically a kūmara. In most other regions, when somebody says ‘yam’ they mean Dioscorea alata (known here in NZ as Purple Yam or Ube). So for the record, when we mention yams, we’re really talking about oca.
New Zealand Yam has distinctive segmented-looking tubers with a glossy sheen to them, approximately 15cm long. Colour is usually pinky-red, but also can be bright apricot or yellow. The tubers are sweet tasting with just a hint of lemon flavour. They’re great for roasting, steaming, stir fries, boiling or mashing; you can use them just like potatoes. The tubers store really well and don’t need to be peeled.
NZ yams are packed with carbohydrates, folate and vitamins A and B6. They can be sliced raw into salads to add tangy zest, but because they have a high oxalate content, they’re usually cooked to help reduce their tartness.
1. Choose a number of medium sized pots, that hold at least 3L of potting mix and position in sun or part shade. Fill with quality potting mix, such as Yates Premium Potting Mix. Place a sprouted tuber into each pot, 8-10 cm deep. Plant with the sprouts facing upwards and water in well.
2. Water regularly through summer to ensure good sized tubers. Feed fortnightly with Yates Thrive Natural Fish Seaweed+ Plant Food Concentrate.