Thursday, June 14, 2012

Exotic Ingredeints~What are Air Potatoes?

Some of you may have seen air potatoes before, but you did not know what they were! Some of you know them as a pesky weed that invades your lawns and growns inches a day, but they are actually edible.

    Native to Asia, tropical Africa and northern Australia, the air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera)---also known as air yam, bitter yam and cheeky yam---was first seen in the U.S. in 1777 in Alabama. It is now found in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. While considered an invasive plant, the air potato can be cultivated for different uses.             
The air potato is a twining vine that can grow to be more than 70 feet in length. It tends to overtake native plants that lie near the ground and often climbs to the tops of trees. They can grow up to 8 inches in a single day. The green, heart-shaped leaves grow on alternating sides of the stem. The air potato produces panicles that bloom with small white flowers. Tubers and bulbils (bulb-like growths at the leaf axils or stem base) develop both above and below ground. These two part of the air potatoes are the most utilized.

Uses:
Prepare the edible parts of the air potato by cleaning and peeling them. Boil, steam or bake the potatoes over coals. This process not only cooks the plant, but lessens the bitter taste.


Sources:
ehow.com




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