Yams

Yams grown in New Zealand originate from the South American Andes where they are known as oca.

The sweet tubers are small, often about the size of a thumb, are pink-orange in colour and have a slightly shiny and ribbed surface. Other sweeter, slightly smaller varieties, coloured yellow, apricot and golden are available.

New Zealand yams are different from the tropical yams grown in other cultures. In America, and therefore in American recipe books, the vegetables known as ‘yams’ are in fact sweet potatoes similar to Beauregard kumara.

What to look for

Firm yams with a bright colour and no blemishes.

Store

Refrigerate in plastic bags.

Nutrition

 YAMS RED
Unpeeled, boiled, drained
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 135g
 Average
Quantity
per serving 
% Daily
intake per
serve 
Average
Quantity
per 100g 
 
Energy (kJ/Cal)336/813.90%249/60 
Protein (g)1.573%1.16 
Fat, total (g)0.280.40%0.21 
 - saturated (g)0.0420.20%0.031 
Carbohydrate (g)16.865.40%12.49 
 - sugars (g)5.996.70%4.44 
Dietary fibre (g)1.545%1.14 
Sodium (mg)000 
Folate (µg)58.5229%43.35A good source of folate
Vitamin B6 (mg)0.29718.6% RDI*0.22A source of vitamin B6
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg)117.0315.6% RDI*86.69A source of vitamin A Equiv.
Potassium (mg)487.71 361.27Contains potassium
Riboflavin (mg)0.1629.5% RDI*0.12 
Thiamin (mg)0.087.3% RDI*0.06 
Niacin (mg)0.555.5% RDI*0.41 
Iron (mg)0.453.8% RDI*0.33 
Zinc (mg)0.2972.4% RDI*0.22 
Vitamin C (mg)0.842% RDI*0.62 
Calcium (mg)4.740.6% RDI*3.51 
Vitamin E (mg) 00% RDI*0 
Selenium (µg)00% RDI*0 

Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs.
*Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)

Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 10th Edition, Plant & Food Research - 2014

Yams are one of the highest vegetable sources of carbohydrate and energy (kilojoules).  They are also a source of vitamin A (from beta-carotene) and vitamin B6 plus contain potassium at levels of dietary significance.  Their yellow orange coloured flesh indicates the presence of carotenoids (yellow orange coloured yams) and anthocyanins (red skins and specks in the flesh).  While not as high as carrots, yams are a good source of beta-carotene.

How to prepare

Yams do not need to be peeled. Scrub if necessary and remove any blemishes.

Ways to eat

Yams are eaten cooked and in this form the carotenoids are more available. Boiling or steaming minimises their oxalate levels. Serve whole or mashed. Use sliced in stir fries. The natural sweetness of yams is enhanced with ginger, orange or sweet and sour sauces.

Cooking Methods

Bake, braise, boil, steam, microwave, roast, stir fry, stew.

Retailing

Pre-pack in plastic bags. Customers may not know how to use yams or earth gems, so use the QR code on labels.

Store at 0-2ºC with a relative humidity of 90-100%.

Purchase yams and earth gems with the New Zealand GAP logo.

Ulluco

In their native South America and have only been commercially available in New Zealand since 2003. The brightly coloured tubers range from yellow to magenta, pink, and even candy striped. They are very small in size, about 2-3 cm in diameter. Their waxy skins are shiny and colourful and is thin and soft and needs no peeling. The white to lemon-yellow flesh has a smooth, silky texture with a nutty taste, similar to beetroot.

Ulluco have a crisp texture, which remains even when cooked. They can be boiled, steamed, microwaved or baked. They hold their colour after cooking and look attractive on the plate.

Recipes

Swede with lemon
Swede with lemon

This slightly sweet lemon sauce can be used on other vegetables such as parsnips, carrots, kumara, turnips, pumpkin or yams. View Recipe

Citrus glazed carrots
Citrus glazed carrots

This glaze is fantastic on carrots and many other vegetables such as, parsnips, swedes, kumara, turnips, pumpkin or yams. View Recipe

View more Recipes