Yams are a staple tuber vegetable of the West Africa and the Caribbean. Known since ancient times they are a very rich source of starch, vitamins and minerals.
Yams have brown tough skins and the flesh can vary in colour - anything from white to yellow to purple - depending on the variety.
Enormously versatile they are good simply fried or roasted, they mash well for sweet or savoury pies and hold their shape in stews and casseroles, adding substance to many dishes.
The term 'yam' is often used in American to describe the sweeter, orange sweet potato.