Thursday, December 4, 2014

Check Out This HUGE Yam Tuber! All Hail the Edible Air Potato!

Dioscorea alata - the "edible air potato" or "winged yam" - is one of my favorite wild edible plants.

Check out this root I found growing at the base of a tree:

That's 27lbs of root there.


(And yes, I was out digging in the rain.)

There's a patch of rough woods by a gas station near my place that is loaded with Dioscorea alata plants, just waiting to be eaten. (For a guide on identifying the edible ones, click here.)

According to my calculations, this one tuber contains 14,220 calories. That's enough food for 7 days.


Even better, the winged yam isn't a bland root like canna or a sweetish root like cassava.

The winged yam tastes like a good white potato. You could eat it on a daily basis for a while without going nuts.

If you were to grow edible air potatoes on purpose, you'd start with one of the hanging aerial bulbils or a piece of root and plant it at this time of year an inch or two deep near a tree or a trellis the vines can climb.

The first year the root or bulbil grows a bit bigger, maybe into a few pound tuber. The second year it goes insane, making a gigantic root that looks like the one I found.

Quite a specimen, isn't it?

It's amazing what you can find growing in Florida's woods. I love this great state.

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At December 4, 2014 at 6:33 PM , Blogger Dr. Mom said...

Wow. Jealous!


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