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Glossary and Pronunciation of Tropical Roots, Tubers, and Rhizomes

Have you ever wondered what those funny looking root vegetables are at your local Caribbean grocery? Here is a glossary to help you identify and cook with with tropical roots, tubers, and rhizomes.

boniato
This sweet potato is also called a Cuban sweet potato, white yam, Florida yam, camote, kamote, and kamura.

jícama
This edible starchy tuberous root that comes from a tropical vine is also known as yam bean, Mexican yam, Mexican turnip, and Mexican potato.

papa
A papa (not papá) is a potato.

taro
This tuber is a starchy edible shaggy brown tuber that has a pleasing, nutty flavor. It's also called dasheen, eddo or kalo and is often confused with yautía.

yautía
This tuber has an elongated shape and the skin is bumpy, patchy, brown, and shaggy. It's also called malanga tannia, tannier, tanier or cocoyam and is often confused with taro.

Yuca
In the Caribbean, yucca is as common as potatoes are to Americans. There's a sweet and a bitter variety. It also goes by the name cassava or manioc.

Ñame
These true yams can grow very large (up to 20 pounds) and it is not uncommon for you to find them cut in half at the store. You may also see them labeled as igñame, mapuey or yampi.

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