Some of the best tips for baking yams are to know when to chop the them, how to spice them, and how long to bake them. Chopping the vegetables is not always necessary, especially if they are not going to be heavily spiced. Certain spices are especially good with yams, so knowing how to pair them can serve a cook well. In addition, knowing how long to bake the dish and whether to cover it can mean the difference between a dry, sweet dish and a perfectly moist one. Lastly, once the yams are finished baking, they can be stored for several days or months, depending on the method used.
Yams can be baked whole or chopped with their skins on or off. The easiest method of baking yams is to simply gently scrub the dirt off them and place them in an oven-safe dish. Yams can be difficult to peel, but some people prefer to take off the skins, and certain dishes work best with skinned yams. Other than these situations, it is not necessary to peel yams because, even though the skins are rough when uncooked, the cooked product is soft and nutritious. If the cook plans to spice the yams, he or she is best off chopping the vegetable to get a better spread of the spices.
This vegetable is sweet when baked, so certain spices work best with it. For example, cinnamon, allspice, and brown sugar are traditionally added to Christmas yam dishes. Honey, nutmeg, and raisins are also a few traditional yam additions that play up the flavor of the dish. When not baking yams in a traditional Western way, people sometimes add oregano, pepper, and salt and bake chopped yams in olive oil.
A sweet yam dish is usually baked in an oven for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). The dish should be covered to prevent the vegetable from being drying out. A salty or peppery dish can be left uncovered, but the yams might need to be turned to prevent any hardening.
Baked yams will typically stay fresh for three to five days in the refrigerator when adequately sealed. Yams can stay fresh for up to a year in the freezer, though this works best when they are mashed. It is important that yams are cooled soon after being cooked in order to stay fresh in the refrigerator or freezer.