Yams - Uwhiuwhi

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 kūmara.

What to look for

Firm yams with a bright colour and no blemishes.


Available: April to October.


Refrigerate in paper bags.

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.


Yams are one of the highest vegetable sources of carbohydrate and energy (kilojoules). They are a good source of folate, a source of vitamin A (from beta-carotene) and vitamin B6 and 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.

Nutrition table

Nutrition Information       
Servng Size: 6 yams = 120g  
  Average Quantity % Daily Intake per serve Average Quantity  
per serving per 100g  
Energy (kJ/Cal) 289/69 3% 241/58  
Protein (g) 1.4 3% 1.1  
Fat, total (g) 0.2 0% 0.2  
 - saturated (g) 0.04 0% 0.03  
Available carbohydrate (g) 14.5 5% 12.1  
 - sugars (g) 5.2 6% 4.3  
Dietary Fibre (g) 1.3   1.1  
Sodium (mg) 0 0% 0  
Folate (µg) 50 25% RDI* 42 A good source of folate
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg) 101 13% RDI* 84 A source of vitamin A
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.25 16% RDI* 0.21 A source of vitamin B6
Potassium (mg) 420   350 Contains potassium
Niacin (mg) 0.5 5% RDI* 0.4  
Riboflavin (mg) 0.14 8% RDI* 0.12  
Thiamin (mg) 0.07 7% RDI* 0.06  
Vitamin C (mg) 1 2% RDI* 1  
Vitamin E (mg) 0.0 0% RDI* 0.0  
Calcium (mg) 4 1% RDI* 3  
Iron (mg) 0.4 3% RDI* 0.3  
Selenium (µg) 0.0 0% RDI* 0.0  
Zinc (mg) 0.3 2% RDI* 0.2  
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: FOODfiles 2018      



Ulluco come from 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.


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

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

Purchase yams and ulluco with the New Zealand GAP logo.