Difference Between Yam and Taro

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  • Many people believe that yam and taro are the same vegetables. It is true that yam and taro are both root vegetables but they are really two different vegetables.
All About Yam
  • Yams Yams are closely related to lilies and grasses. Native to Africa and Asia, yams vary in size from that of a small potato to a record 130 pounds (as of 1999). There are over 600 varieties of yams and 95% of these crops are grown in Africa. Compared to sweet potatoes, yams are starchier and drier.

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    source: loc.gov
  • Dioscorea (Yam) Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Liliopsida Order: Dioscoreales Family: Dioscoreaceae Genus: Dioscorea
  • Yams, on the other hand, are rarely available in the United States, though they are popular in South and Central America, the West Indies, many Pacific islands, and parts of Asia and Africa.
  • Based on the history, Yam was first known in Africa and later on was introduced in Europe then in Asia and around the world.

  • The word yam in many African languages means to taste or sample; in Portuguese and Spanish  it translates to the same meaning—to sample; and in Caribbean yam in Creole means to eat, as in yam up!  This might be evidence that mankind did at one time share a single language.   According to my research, there is archaeological evidence that yams was farmed over 8,000 year; first in Africa, then  Asia and the yam made its way around the World during the slave trade.  The yam was introduced to Europe in the 1800s to supplement   the  diminishing   potato   crop   which   was being devastated by disease.  

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  • Yam

    (Dioscorea species)

    Yams are starchy staples in the form of large tubers produced by annual and perennial vines grown in Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, South Pacific and Asia. There are hundreds of wild and domesticated Dioscorea species. White Guinea yam, D. rotundata, is the most important species especially in the dominant yam production zone in West and Central Africa. It is...

  • Dioscorea alata, called water yam, winged yam, and purple yam, was first cultivated somewhere in Southeast Asia. Although it is not grown in the same quantities as the African yams it has the largest distribution world-wide of any cultivated yam, being grown in Asia, the Pacific islands, Africa, and the West Indies (Mignouna 2003).

  • Chinese Yam Chinese yam (Dioscorea opposita) is a root that is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Chinese yam is native to China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, where it can be found growing wild on hill slopes and in valleys. It is also propagated for medicinal and dietary uses.
  • Air potato Dioscorea bulbifera Family - Dioscoreaceae Habitat - Margins of forests, particularly in moist areas Description - Introduced invasive twining vine, fast growing to 60 70 feet, covering and shading out native plants. Long stalked, cordate alternate leaves to 8 inches long with palmately arranged veins. Produces aerial tubers from leaf axils from which new plants develop. Flower - Usually not present in Florida.
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    air-potato Dioscorea bulbifera L.

    Descriptor: Feature(s) Description: bulbils Image location: United States Image type: Field
  • There are many varieties of yam species but the most common are white yam, yellow yam, water yam and bitter yam.

  • The genus Dioscorea contains a wide range of species used as food, of which about five or six species are widely used. There are many varieties of yam species widespread throughout the humid tropics, but the edible yams are derived mainly from about ten. The most economically important species are:

    White yam (Dioscorea rotundata Poir). Originated in...

  • ESURU { The Bitter or Cluster Yam }. By S. Olanrewaju Disu.“ Esuru” or cluster yam, comes in yellow, white or pale-yellow forms. It is called a cluster yam when its tubers are bunched. It is also known as a three-leaved yam or a trifoliate yam. Botanically, it’s known as “Dioscorea dumetorum, Family Dioscoreaceae”.Traditionally, “esuru” or the bitter yam, is eaten with the palm-oil. Nowadays, however some enlightened citizens eat it with scrambled eggs, margarine or butter. Its appearance in markets is seasonal.The bitter-yam is often grown in hedgerows around a farm and especially on the edges of yam fields – as a deterrent to human and animal marauders. The Yoruba’s evoke the plant in a sinister incantation to bestow virile power.
  • Bitter yam (Dioscorea dumetorum). Also called trifoliate yam because of its leaves. Originates in Africa where wild cultivars also exist. One marked characteristic of the bitter yam is the bitter flavour of its tubers. Another undesired characteristic is that the flesh hardens if not cooked soon after harvest. Some wild cultivars are highly poisonous.

  • The yam is also known as true yam, greater yam, cush-cush, igname, mapuey, name yam, nyami tropical yam, and yampi. The "Name" Yam is pronounced "ny-AAH-MAY".

  • Cush-cush yam (D. trifida L.) originated from the Americas. White Guinea yam and water yam are the most important in terms of cultivation and use.
  • In the United States it has become an invasive species in some Southern states.

    In the Philippines it is known as ube (or ubi) and is used as an ingredient in many sweet desserts. In India, it is known as ratalu or violet yam or the Moraga Surprise. In Hawaii it is known as uhi. Uhi was brought to Hawaii by the early Polynesian settlers and became a major crop in the 1800s when the tubers were sold to visiting ships as an easily stored food supply for their voyages

  • The yam is a staple food in many tropical countries, particularly in Africa, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. Yams have brown tough skins and the flesh can vary in colour – anything from white to yellow to purple – depending on the variety.

  • Yams

    Creamy or firm when cooked, yams have an earthy, hardy taste and usually a minimal amount of sweetness. Although they are available throughout the year their season runs from October through December when they are at their best.

  • Yam nutrition

    Yam vegetable contains a variety of good nutrition for health and nutrition contained in yam, among others, are as follows carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber, vitamins A, B complex, C, E, K, sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, and beta carotene.

  • Here are some of the health benefits of Yams: Antioxidant properties:

    Both sweet potatoes and yams have rich source beta carotene I.e. vitamin A, providing around 262% of your daily target of vitamin A consumption. Apart form that, Yam also houses vitamin C, which meet up the daily target of 30 % of daily value. In combination of both vitamin A and vitamin C, together makes an excellent antioxidant property and helps to remove free radicals form our body.

    Prevent cancer:

    Yams are high in beta carotene; therefore it acts as a natural anti-carcinogen and natural antioxidant. The healthy properties of Yams have been proved to treat and prevent various types of...

  • Health Benefits Of Eating Yams 
    Wild yam has been used as a form of traditional herbal Chinese medicine for a long time. It is mainly used for the proper functioning of the renal and the female endocrine system. For instance, its root has been traditionally given to lactating women. However, there is no clear evidence to support this theory and studies are still going on to establish a connection between diosgenins (a chemical substance found in yam) and the female endocrine function.
    Wild yam...
  • Health Benefits of Yams

    Yams are a tuberous crop originating from West African. There are around 200 different varieties of yams with various colours and shape. The colour of tubers varies from red, purple yellow, purple or white. In addition they are used in foods along with ritualism and symbolism. Yams boast for being one of the most on-demand starchy root vegetables over the African continent. Today this humble vegetable has been spread all Africa, Latin...

  •   Yam Nutrition These sweet tubers are full of health benefits. They have anti-cancer properties, loads of beta-carotene for your eyes and plenty of B vitamins, especially B6, which is good for your skin and keeps your nerves healthy. Thanks to high amounts of potassium, they can help stabilize your blood pressure and maintain normal heart functions, and since yams are very rich in copper they might even help you get rid if gray hair!
  • Cooking Tips
    Certain wild varieties of yam must be cooked properly before eating, as certain materials in the raw yam can causes illness, if taken without cooking.
    Yams can be prepared in a number of ways: fried, boiled, and even pounded into dough-like form.
    Contrary to the cooking rule, Japanese take their yams raw and grated. To...
All About Taro
  • The taro plant, from which we get taro root, is grown in tropical climates. There are over 350 varieties of this plant in Hawaii, where it is a culturally important food
  • Taro is native in Tahiti, Hawaii, and tropical countries especially in Southeast Asia. Taro is well known with big leaves that resemble an elephant's ear.

  • Hawaiian cuisine is a meld of many tastes, based on the immigrants and natives that have come to call Hawaii their home. But one of the more common and probably ancient foods is taro.

    Taro was probably brought to the islands by its earliest visitors, as the taro is a native plant of southeast...

  • A tropical plant, taro is generally considered to be a root vegetable, though some people also consume the leaves of the plant. Taro has many vital nutrients in it, and also has high content of carbohydrate, thus giving us energy and making us healthier. It is harvested and consumed all over the world, especially Brazil, China, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, West Indies, and even the USA, among many other countries.

  • Taro root is known as magimbi in Swahili; its taste is almost like tropical sweet potatoes. Taro grows in muddy or dry areas. Many countries around the world do eat taro. In East Africa taro is also known as arrow roots. Most of taro roots purchased in USA could be from Hawaii. Some of the countries that eat taro are: Nepal, Bangladesh, china, almost all countries in Africa, Taiwan Spain, Lebanon, Fiji and etc.

  • Culinary Usage Taro can be used to make a large variety of recipes. Choices differ from individual to individual. It can be used to make vegetable preparations, or even cooked with fish or meat. Some common uses are:

    Taro can be steam boiled and then roasted, and then sliced, grated, mashed or chopped into pieces and added to other items.
    A very widespread item sold in the market is a paste made from taro. The taro is first properly washed, and then boiled and mashed. It is then fermented under proper conditions,...
  • Global Culinary Use The corms are roasted, baked or boiled and the natural sugars give a sweet nutty flavour. The starch is easily taro (saru / topioca leave) digestible and grains are fine and small and often used for baby food. The leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C and contain more protein than the corms.
  • Taro is very easy to grown. It's delicious and nutritious compared to other hard-to plant vegetables. It is edible leaf to its corm. Taro roots 100 grams of taro contains almost 0% fat and cholesterol, and about 112 calories, 11 milligrams sodium, 2 g protein, contains vitamin A, C, E, K, iron, calcium, and many others making it rich in vitamins and minerals. If we all come together Taro crops can help world hunger. More over 100 million people worldwide are currently eating taro. It grows in moist soils in the humid tropics of many countries. In Philippines Japan, Korea and China, consumes most taro plant and in daily diet with a variety of cakes for cooking the main meal. In some party or celebration taro is always present as it is being used as additive in some menu.
  • Taro is a tropical plant that is used by people as a leaf and root vegetable. Taro is extremely healthy and good for us to eat. People usually don’t eat Taro Raw, because it is Toxic and at the same time it has little Raphides. Raphides are small needle-shaped crystals made of calcium carbonate or calcium oxalate. Our Creator made them as a self defense for the plant against different kinds of plant predators. Because of those Raphides people must cook Taro Vegetable in some kind of a way. People enjoy Taro from all around the world: Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cyprus, Jamaica,...

  • Taro root holds a cultural importance in many cultures where it is traditionally grown as a community crop. With its soft mashed-potato-like consistency it is often the first solid food fed to babies coming off breast milk and it is also one of the last foods eaten by the elderly whom have lost all their teeth and can no longer effectively chew solid food.

  • Taro contains calcium oxalates it is necessary to peel the skin in order to remove the toxins but when peeling wear a robber gloves because it might be caused skin irritation.

  • Taro TIPS: Taro contains calcium oxalates in the form of needle shaped crystals. This causes irritation and a burning sensation if the vegetable is handled or eaten raw. Consequently the use of gloves is suggested when preparing this vegetable, and long cooking is necessary to destroy these compounds.
  • Selecting and Buying Choosing: When purchasing a taro root, look for one that is good in size and has no blemishes or bruises. Buying: Since these are somewhat difficult to find, there is not usually a wide range of brands to choose from. They can be found in exotic food areas of some grocery stores, or in specialty Asian food markets. Procuring: These grow well in warmer climates, not in Europe or North America. They grow all year round, but are usually harvested in late fall. Preparation and Use

    The taro root MUST be either cooked thoroughly, or soaked in cold water overnight or it will be toxic.

    Cleaning: Before eating, you must remove the skin, but be careful because some people will have an allergic reaction to the juices that are released when it is peeled.
  • Taro root usually doesn’t keep for more than a week, and it will turn sour when it's mixed and stored in the freezer. Buy it close to when you’re ready to cook, and enjoy it. It’s definitely worth the effort.

Yam Vs Taro
  • Yam and taro are both rich source of vitamins and minerals but still different in many ways. Yam is from the Dioscoreaceae family while Taro is from Araceae. Yam leaves are usually has a long stalked and purplish to red in color unlike Taro is well-known with big leaves like an elephant's ear. Yam has smooth with thin skin while Taro skin has a rough and hairy outer coating on its surface. Yam can be harvested from the vine or from the roots unlike Taro is usually harvested by manual plucking from the roots.

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