Today’s photos show one of the many yam vines growing on our hillside. This particular yam vine is growing in the cherry tree. In the early 1980’s, over thirty years ago; our grandfather – grandpa Howell, planted this yam in our hill. It is the St. Vincent yam. We’ve reaped several pounds of this yam in the past, and although we’ve never replanted it, the yam vine keeps growing year after year, in various places around our hillside. There are different varieties of yam, such as the yellow yam, white yam, renta yam, and sweet yam . . . which are all nice for eating; but the St. Vincent yam, which we have growing in our hill, happens to be the least favourite variety of them all.
The texture of the St. Vincent yam, when cooked, is softer when compared with other varieties of yam. It easily becomes mushy, and it is grainy to the taste. The St. Vincent yam also has a shorter shelf life. Yam bears all year round, and when the yam tuber is fit and ready for reaping, the yam vine will wither and die.
Our yam vine – although suspended in mid-air, has been sending out young tubers that have roots. Each tuber is ready to grow into the soil to become yam for eating. Yam is a root vegetable that is rich in starch; in Jamaica, it is usually eaten boiled, or roasted. However, there are a many persons who prepare their yam in the same manner as they do their potato salad.
In our home, when we have left-over boiled yam; we slice it and fry them and eat them with our breakfast or dinner.I read that yams have good levels of potassium, manganese, thiamin, and dietary fiber. They also contain thiocyanate; which was suggested to have the potential to protect against Sickle cell Anemia.Parts of the yam vine are poisonous if ingested, however, most yams do not contain toxic compounds.