Many confuse yams with sweet potatoes but they are an entirely different plant. To tell them apart at the market, look for the tubers with a bark like peel. A sweet potato has tapered ends and thin, smooth skin and flesh that can range from light beige to burnished orange to purplish, even. A yam is cylindrical, typically white-fleshed—there is a purple variety, too—and has rough, dark, almost hairy skin. It really does look like bark which makes sense since they are related to palms and grasses, while sweet potatoes are part of the morning glory family. Yams are a little starchier and dryer than sweet potatoes but they have a lovely sweet, creamy flavor and many health benefits, especially for women. My elderly parents are wanting to reduce if not eliminate night shades from their diet. What is a night shade? The technical answer is that nightshades are a botanical family of plants, more technically called Solanaceae. These plants all have certain characteristics in common including poisonous leaves. Nightshades include many favorite foods like eggplant, tomato, peppers, and sadly potatoes. So, I look for alternative vegetables to mash like cauliflower, carrots, sweet potatoes, fennel, parsnips, turnips and yes, yams.
Mashed yams are done exactly like any mashed vegetable. Peel, dice and boil the cubes with 3-4 cloves of garlic in salted water. Once tender, mash them with butter and milk and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. For this particular application I mashed in two ounces of Neufchâtel Cream Cheese and I used my Ninja Processor to mash them to a smooth consistency that I could pipe through a cake decorator, but that is an optional presentation, served up family style in a bowl works great too! Ironically I chose to dust these with a bit of smoked paprika, whoops! Paprika is a nightshade! It was very tasty though!!
- 6 Yams, peeled and diced
- 3-4 whole Garlic cloves
- 2 T Grass fed Butter (you can sub vegan butter if you like)
- 1/4 C Almond Milk
- 2 ounces Neufchâtel Cream Cheese (optional)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Smoked Paprika (optional garnish if you aren’t watching nightshades.)
- Place the peeled and diced yams into salted water along with garlic cloves.
- Boil yams until tender, then drain and pour yams and garlic into the processor.
- Add milk, butter and cheese and process smooth.
- Pack into a cake decorator and pipe it onto your plates or just serve it up home style in a bowl.