Commonly known as yams in the US, sweet potatoes are large, sweet-tasting vegetables perfect for consumption in the cold winter months. However, sweet potatoes, or yams, do not grow in winter. So, the question is, can you freeze yams for eating in the long winter months?
You can freeze yams, and doing so is a reasonably straightforward process. They make delicious, hearty meals that are very healthy, and you can create a plethora of dishes due to their versatility. Yam lovers can rest assured that their yams will freeze well.
Read on to find out more about freezing yams, learn a little about freezing techniques, and get some great ideas on how to enjoy your yams when it is frosty and frigid outside.
How To Freeze Yams
You need to deal with some preparation when freezing yams. This step-by-step guide simplifies the process:
- Wash and peel the yams – peeling is optional, as the skin comes off easily after boiling.
- Boil the yams until they are soft and tender.
- Slice or mash the yams, depending on your preference.
- Allow the yams to cool naturally – aiding this process with water or a fan, for example, may negatively affect the flavor.
- Place them in an airtight container or freezer bag.
- Squeeze the air out of the bag.
- Freeze the yams.
Another method is to bake the yams. Doing this will take longer, but if you are a fan of baked yams, baking and freezing them together will save a lot of time later on.
- Prick the yams’ skins a few times with a fork.
- Bake your yams in a preheated oven (375 °F or 190.55 °C) for 90-minutes.
- Cool the yams, wrap them in foil, and put them in a freezer bag.
- Squeeze the air out of the bag.
- Freeze the yams.
Can You Freeze Yams Raw?
You can freeze yams raw. It is best to slice them and put them in freezer bags while they are fresh. However, I don’t recommend this, as they will lose some flavor and color; blanching yams before freezing is the best advice.
Blanching yams means that the sweet potato will taste as good as when it was fresh, even after being frozen for up to 12 months. The unique sweetness of the yam is so delectable that you won’t want to lose any amount of that flavor.
Here’s how to blanch raw yams:
Blanch yams by peeling them and boiling them for just a few minutes. Enough to cook the outside of the yam without actually cooking the whole thing through. Once boiled, remove the yams and dunk them into some ice water to stop them from cooking.
Allow the yams to thoroughly dry and place them in a freezer bag before putting them in the freezer.
How Long Do Yams Keep in the Freezer?
Yams will stay fresh in the freezer for 10-12 months. After prepping, you will need to put them in a freezer-safe bag, making sure there is no excess air inside. Place the bag in the back of the freezer.
As long as you’ve frozen them correctly, they will stay fresh for up to a year.
How Long Do They Keep at Room Temperature?
Yams will keep for around a week at room temperature. They will keep up to a month if kept in a cool, dark place. Yams kept in the refrigerator may develop a bad flavor and harden in the center.
However, this does depend on how fresh the yams were when you bought them. Yams purchased from the supermarket may have an eat-by date sticker on them.
How Can I Tell If the Yam Is Fresh?
You can tell if a yam is fresh if it doesn’t have any soft, squishy spots. These spots may be changing color to brown or black and are probably best avoided. Any mold on the potato means you should probably toss them away, too.
Don’t worry too much about sprouts. If there are only one or two, you can cut them off and enjoy the potato as usual. If there are many sprouts, then the yam has probably been sitting around for too long.
Freshness is critical for the taste of any vegetable, and the yam is no different. Always make sure your yams are as fresh as possible before cooking or freezing.
Defrosting Frozen Yams
In practice, you can cook frozen yams straight from the freezer. Whether you are boiling, frying, baking, or whatever, no defrosting is necessary.
The taste is not compromised when doing this, and you can rest assured that your yam dishes will still have plenty of goodness and taste.
Popular Winter Yam Dishes
Yams are widely available throughout the year other than winter. Therefore, you most likely want to freeze your yams for consumption during this season. Hearty meals are most enjoyed during this season, and the yam is a popular vegetable for this.
Curries and stews are excellent with yams and provide extra goodness from the nutrition that yams provide.
Here are some exceptional and hearty dishes with yams that you might want to treat your family to over the coldest months of the year.
You can also check out this YouTube video for an excellent chicken and yam curry recipe:
Yams have a reputation as a highly-nutritional ‘superfood.’ But is this title warranted? Let’s look at the facts:
- A medium-sized yam contains around 100-calories.
- It has very little fat.
- You can find about 10-15% of your recommended fiber intake in a medium-sized yam.
- It contains around 20% of your daily value of vitamin B6 and C, potassium, and manganese.
- Other essential vitamins and minerals include vitamin A, copper, and magnesium.
So yes, the humble yam can be considered a superfood and should be included in everyone’s diet as often as possible. However, if you’re reading this, you probably already know that, right?
Sweet Potato vs. Yam
While we are clearing up things, you might be interested to know the real difference between a sweet potato and a yam.
In the US, people typically refer to sweet potatoes as yams. However, this isn’t exactly correct. A yam is another kind of potato. For generations, they have been a staple food in parts of Africa, South America, and Asia.
The sweet potato named ‘yam’ in the USA is, as it says – sweet. It’s also usually orange in color, though sometimes it is white or purple. Contrastingly, yams have a neutral flavor and starchy white flesh.
The yam’s skin is coarse and brown, while the sweet potato is smooth and reddish. However, true yams are seldom found in American supermarkets, so calling a sweet potato a yam is not doing any harm!
Can You Freeze Yams – Final Thoughts
Yams are delicious and enrich us with many nutrients. Everybody should eat yams as regularly as they can. Doing this is especially healthy in the winter months when our bodies’ immunities are lower.
As yams struggle to grow in hard and frosty ground, freezing them towards the end of the fall is a fantastic idea.
Freezing yams may not be as straightforward as throwing them in the freezer. However, the prep time is low and the process easy, while the end result is absolutely worth it!