We cook yams for family and individual survival!
COOKING AND EATING YAMS ARE NOT ONLY PLEASANT AND ESSENTIAL HOBBY BUT A WAY OF LIFE TO AVOID STARVATION!
We Nigerians are always very pleased that our forefathers handed us this wonderful and versatile vegetable crop called yam! I wonder what would have been our fate if we were not blessed with it. To top it all, God in his infinite wisdom and mercy, gave us fertile lands and vegetation conducive for the planting or cultivation of yam tubers!
There are other parts of African continent where desert encroachment could not allow the yams to be planted, cultivated or harvested. The people who live in such areas are starving unlike us.
Yes, yams are very important in our country and it gave us an edge to avoid starvation! Many of our people have achieved tremendous successes in yam cultivation. And many have equally gained chieftancy titles they never thought they would achieve within their communities.
Many Nigerians farmers have several yam barns. One of the most exciting thing about yam is not its versatility but the simple fact that it could be stored or could remain for over 8 months without refrigeration. This makes them valuable resources for the yearly period of food scarcity at the beginning of the rainy season!
COOKING AFRICAN OR NIGERIAN YAMS ARE VERY EASY AS LONG AS ONE KNOWS HOW TO GO ABOUT IT!
We Nigerians have been eating yams from time immemorial without any harm. Yam tubers or crops are one of the harmless diets in the world! No one has ever been known to be allergic to yams. And the yams have no known side effects compared with some other foods. Yams cultivations and consumptions are greatly emphasized especially among the Igbo culture! And we the Igbos are very proud of the crop.
When cooking our yams the first thing we do is to peel off the hard skins. While peeling off the skins, one has to be very careful because there are some poisonous liquids that comes out of the yams once the skins are peeled off. This liquid can be very itchy once it touches the skins.
As soon as the yams skins are peeled off, the next thing is to cut it into different sizes and shapes as the cook may choose.
After cutting, they are put in a bowl and thoroughly washed at least three times especially to remove the itchy liquid.
After washing, the next thing is to put the yams to boil. If it is to be cooked as yam pottage, then all ingredients such as vegetables, oil, spices, seasonings including salt and pepper will be added and stirred intermittently until the whole yams are soft and tender.
Yams normally take 40-45 minutes to cook. If it has to be cooked or boiled in order to be mashed as pounded yam which has to be eaten with soups, then, no salt or pepper nor any type of seasonings will be added when boiling it.
If yams are to be cooked and eaten with other types of food such as rice or beans, then the beans have to be cooked either separately or yams added after the beans had boiled for at least 35 minutes. In such case, a rich stew had to be prepared. The stew will normally contain meat, fishes, fried onions, spices and seasonings.