Thursday, December 28, 2006

Yams with Apples

Yams - the most overlooked tuber. And what is the difference between a YAM and a SWEET POTATO? You can thank the U.S Dept of Agriculture for the infernal confusion since they insist the word YAM be followed by SWEET POTATO.

The sweet potato is found in tropical America and is a storage root, a part of the Morning Glory family. There are two mains kinds, pale yellow with a thin skin and bright orange with the thick skin.

The yam is a tuber (a bulb) of a tropical vine found in Central & South America, as well as the West Indies, Africa and Asia. Yams are generally speaking always imported. Never refrigerate your yams!

In the supermarket, note the difference by the shapes and the skins. Sweet potatoes are short and blocky, with relatively smooth skins, and yams are long with toes, with rough and scaly skins.

That being said, let's now focus on YAMS, and within this family of tubers are some of the most astounding health properties to be found. ams have many beneficial health properties; they contain B6, they protecting against certain forms of cancer, heart attacks, strokes and hypertension. The Chinese Yam is used in a soup (see ___) and if it this metric is important to you, it lowers cholesterol. I have something to say about the whole cholesterol business later on.

I make this dish with a number of different YAMS depending on the health effect I am after.

Yams With Apples

4 large yams
4 large green apples (sour)
1 cup jaggery (unrefined Indian brown sugar cones crushed into small pieces)
1/2 tsp ground cloves
4 Tb butter, or coconut oil

Oven to 350 deg. F


Cook yams in jackets in boiled salted water until tender, depending on the type of yam from 15 to 20 to 25 minutes no longer. Peel them and cut into 1/1 inch thick slices.

Peel and core the apples and cut also into 1/4 inch thick slices.
In a buttered casserole place alternating layers of yam and apples.
Sprinkle each layer with brown sugar, cloves and dot with butter.
Cover the casserole and bake for 40 minutes.

Health Properties of YAMS

Although I pay little heed to cholesterol and more so to my pulses and other real signals of health status, since this society has been brain-washed on the cholesterol issues, note that the medical profession (whatever that is) has no idea really, except the insurance companies make sure they warn people of the dangers of high cholesterol. The pharmaceutical companies run spiffy ads on TV selling their cholesterol lowering drugs t you the consumer directly, asking you go to your local pill-pusher (the one with the MD), and get a prescription for it. Notice that most of the ad-time is filled with yet other dire warnings you might just drop dead while taking their pills.

Cholesterol BTW is about ratios. Bad LDL over Good HDL gives a numeric ratio somewhere theoretically between 1 and whatever. This ratio is a probability you may get a heart attack based on population statistics. Cholesterol science (whatever that is) is confused, and the confusion is bolstered with statistics - in my opinion this is where the saying "lies, damn lies and statistics" apply.

All that being said, certain kinds of yams will drop your bad cholesterol in a jiffy all other things being equal, and you're not taking your blood tests after an alcohol or a sugar-pie-eating binge whilst sitting on your couch for the last 6 months.


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