Air potatoe-Scientific facts

countrynest(z9)March 22, 2008

Air potato,Dioscorea bulbifera.

Schultz (1992) notes that "Dioscorea bulbifera is one of the most common and widespread food yams and can be found in every hot, humid tropical region of the world."

Common names: Âoi (Cook Islands), aerial yam, air yam (English), air-potato ñame de gunda (Spanish)

Go to web site below for more information

www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=1220&fr=1&sts=

Felix

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coffeemom(Broward z10)

I got this from an ifas site.
"Dioscorea species are cultivated for their edible underground tubers in West Africa where they are important commodities. Uncultivated forms (as in Florida) however are reported to be bitter and even poisonous. Dioscorea varieties, containing the steroid diosgenin, are a principal material used in the manufacture of birth-control pills. Air potato is believed to have been introduced into Florida as an ornamental and a food plant in about 1905. By the early 1970s it was already recognized as a pest plant throughout the state."

If it was a food plant, how did it get to be thought of as poisonous? This looks like one of those veggies you would have to serve and them tell me what it is. What made you want to try it?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 9:30PM
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junkyardgirl

There are some varieties that are poisonous, though. I believe that D. alata is edible, and can be identified by it's larger leaves and square stems. They grow some huge underground tubers.

I'm pretty sure than mine are D. bulbifera, and I'm not eating them until I know for sure they won't kill me.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 9:30PM
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coffeemom(Broward z10)

Thanks for the answer junkyardgirl!
different kinds!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 9:32PM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

I have heard from quite a few people "in the know" and read in several places (that I wish I could find now) that the wild variety of this which grows in Florida can NOT be eaten safely. Please be careful before you try this. I do know of several people from up north who have eaten the other varieties, but I believe ours is not safe. Wish it were. If we told people it was delicious and endangered, it would all disappear in no time!

Marcia

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 9:50PM
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treefrog_fl(z10 FL)

"Yankee Potato"?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 10:03PM
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countrynest(z9)

I'm Cuban and I have always eaten it and still do. What I also know and read is not to eat the one hanging off the vines but the ones under ground.Also not to eat the very tender.
But hey, I do not eat rabbit nor any other rodent and I know that tomatoes are poisonous as well as eggplants. That's why
I would not eat them.

felix

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 10:50PM
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sumala(9 fl)

What is the best way to cook them Felix? And speaking of poisonous, do you grow or eat ackee?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 7:53AM
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bihai(zone 9)

Yes, its a very important distinction that you some of ya'll aren't making:
the UNDERGROUND TUBER is cultivated for food

the AERIAL tuber (the "air" potato) is toxic.

Toxicity of plants is a weird thing. On some plants ALL parts of the plant are toxic (brugmansia, for example)

In other parts, only the stems or shoots are toxic (regular potatoes, you aren;t supposed to eat the "eyes" or any plant that has started growing from an "eye")

Spinach, isn;t the actual trunk toxic and only the leaves edible or something like that?

And of course, Castor bean, the source of ricin...the seeds are toxic

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 8:21AM
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countrynest(z9)

You are very correct bihai.
Sumala they can be boiled and eaten like potatoes or as mash potatoes. They also are good in stews and fried as chips.
They are similar in taste to malanga or eddo. You boil some and some green pantain then you mash them using bacon drippings and adding bacon bits(the real stuff).You can add
some mojo to flavor it. Goes great as a side dish of fish.
Felix

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 1:52AM
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sumala(9 fl)

Very interesting. I love trying new types of food. Gotta find my shovel now!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 5:16AM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

Okay, I get it. I never even knew there WAS an underground tuber. When the articles say "air potato" is toxic and dangerous, I assumed (correctly) they meant the ones hanging from the vines that kids use to bean each other with in potato fights. I've never tried to dig one up, so didn't know there was any other tuber on the plant.

Felix, I'm glad you know NOT to eat the hanging ones. Me, I'm not gonna mess with them at all, because they sound like WAY too much work. I don't want to dig them and I don't want to go to all the cooking and mashing trouble. I'll just come taste them at YOUR house, instead!! HAHA! I know what a good cook Sylvia is! ;o)

Marcia

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 12:11PM
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coffeemom(Broward z10)

I'll wait for the "major crisis" (another post) before I'm willing try this. We could organize a post apocalyptic air potato tuber hunt.
I pretty much figure anything with green plantain, bacon and mojo has got to taste fantastic!!!!!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 1:41PM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

Heck yeah, coffeemom! I'd eat just about ANYTHING with mojo. Kind of like drawn butter...I've always said I could eat COTTON BALLS dipped in drawn butter!

But I think I'll wait along with you for the "major crisis" before I start digging air potatoes up. Sounds like way too much work when I can buy real potatoes at Publix, you know?

Marcia

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 9:05AM
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bihai(zone 9)

Countrynest,
they have that dish at a restaurant here called Green Plantains! They call it Mofongo. I am a vegetarian and haven't eaten it because of it having bacon in it, but my husband loves it!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 12:29PM
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zorba_the_greek(9)

They are fairly easy to sort out. Dioscorea Bulbifera was introduced in Orlando FL in 1905 as an ornamental and a food crop. However it rarely produces a large underground root in Florida, and if it does it requires special preparation to make it edible. In Australia the Aborigines roast the underground root, rice it, then leach it overnight in a moving stream. Whether the bulbils (air potatoes) are edible is a bit of a debate because some are not and some are if prepared correctly.

The dioscorea alta may not have been introduced into Florida until the 1960s and was first noted in the 1970s. It does have an edible underground root, that just has to be boiled. I find it fairly common in Central Florida. You can read more about them at my website eattheweeds dot com.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 11:08PM
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