forest hut

Yummy Yams of Velvandi Valley

Yams and tubers contain starch which is a carbohydrate and hence a good source of energy. As compared to potatoes, yams have a lower glycemic index as they do not raise the blood sugar levels as rapidly as potato starch. They also contain modest amounts of vitamin B1 and vitamin C and also provide some fiber.

These yams play an important role in food security of Velvandi valley residents.

Vigna Vexillata (होळुंदा)

It is a climbing herb & found in forests. These days, it is rare to find at Velvandi valley & is a priced delicacy.

It’s size is close to a big potato. It is harvested post monsoon.

The tubers are soft, easy to peel, and possess a creamy, white, tasty interior. They are cooked & eaten. Protein content of the tubers is around 15%, which is high compared to the 1-7% in potatoes.

The paste of tuberous roots is applied on swellings.

Dioscorea Belophylla (आनवी)

It is a perennial climber & commonly found in forests.

Flowering & fruiting happens from September to March. It is normally harvested for Shivratri fast. The mature roots can grow up to 7′ long.

It is difficult to harvest because of its size, yet its texture and flavor makes it one of the most sought-after yams.

Tuber powder form is applied on ulcers.

Dioscorea Pentaphylla (शॆंडवेल)

It is a perennial climber and found in wet deciduous forests.

It is found during rainy season. It is thin and almost as long as 13-15 cms. All parts of the plant, including shoot, root & fruit, are consumed.

Tubers are used as tonics.

Dioscorea Bulbifera (करांदा)

It is a perennial climber and found in wet deciduous forests.

Normally, the fruits are consumed. The fruit is of small potato size. The root is also edible.

The paste of tuberous root is applied on erysipelas, swellings.

Dioscorea Alata (गरखंद)

It is a perennial climber and found in forests.

The root can grow up to 60-75 cms long. It is harvested in late winter around Holi.

Dioscorea Oppositifolia (तांभुळे)

It is a perennial climber and found in wet deciduous forests.

They are harvested during monsoon. They are roughly the size of a large potato.

Tubers are used as tonics & applied on swellings.

Ipomoea Batatas (रताळी)

It is a perennial creeper. We have come across 2 of the varieties.

It is the most commonly consumed yam here. It is locally harvested in late winter. The wild boars go nuts for it.

Colocasia Esculenta (अळु)

We have come across 2 of the varieties of Colocasia. The leaves are harvested throughout the monsoon & early winter for different preparations. For example, अळु वडी.

The bulbous root is harvested around Feb. It has a distinct strong flavor.

It is used in de-congestion of the portal system because of its high fiber content.

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