Innovative by-products of Yam

Innovative by-products of Yam

The Kimroy Bailey Foundation is exploring yam by-products: yam fruit cake, ice cream & cup cake using yellow yam and negro yam at the 100% Renewable Center. For centuries yam has been a vital part of majority of Jamaican’s diet. According the South Trelawny Environmental Agency (STEA) yam, a potato-like root vegetable, was brought from the West Coast of Africa in the holds of ships as food for captured slaves. Yam quickly became a staple food on plantations throughout the Caribbean. It has since survived abolition and today finds its way onto most Jamaican dinner tables. Up to 18 different varieties of yam are cultivated in Jamaica. Most of these varieties are grown in the parish of Trelawny, the most popular being the yellow yam. Trelawny accounts for up to 60% of Jamaica’s yam production and approximately 50% of yams exported from Jamaica are grown in the area. Most exports go to West Indian communities in the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

Yam Project
Kimroy Bailey Foundation volunteer shares Yam cake and Ice Cream to yam farmers

Yam boasts a number of benefits including:                                                                     (4)

Source of Vitamin B6 – Used to build blood vessel walls

Source of carbohydrate – For energy and endurance

Supports Female Endocrine System – particularly helpful for menopausal women

Source of Antioxidants –  Excellent food for those suffering from arthritis and asthma and cancer (Colon cancer and Lung cancer)

Low Glycemic Index – Diabetics can eat yam without worrying about rise in blood sugar level

Aids Digestion – Yam reduces constipation and decreases bad cholesterol

Improves Cognitive Ability – Yam aids leaning and memory capacity in the human brain.

Delay Ageing Signs – Yam has amazing anti-ageing benefits contains skin-friendly nutrients


Three Main Problems

Despite the long heritage of yam, the numerous benefits and its success stories, today yam is seen merely as a crop farmers plant, reap, sell to vendors who provide the commodity to primarily housewives who peal, boil and feed their family with the product. Yam production has been on a decline over the years due to three main reasons:

A short shelf life – After reaping yam from the soil the product only last for a mere 5-7 days at room temperature, this reduces its marketability since it cannot be stored for seasons of high demand or exported to far countries without being spoiled before reaching the vendor and final customer unless treated or preserved.

Limited interest from youths to continue the cultivation of the crop

Limited market – Unlike potato with a host of chips and other by-products, yam is predominately marketed as a carbohydrate boiled and ate. This limits its marketability due to inflexible consumption options.

Potential Solutions – Yam Fruit Cake, Ice Cream and Cup Cake

The Kimroy Bailey Foundation through its 100% Renewable Community Center located in the heart of Yam Country, Trelawny is exploring innovative techniques to keep the tradition of yam alive while generating a solid source of income for youths and farmers in and around Trelawny. To achieve this goal the non-profit organization created a strategy to explore methods to expand the shelf life of the product and create by-product market for this article we’ll discuss the potential by-products that were tested by the KB Foundation.

Yam Fruit Cake

Kimroy Bailey Foundation Yam Fruit Cake

Alesha McLean, KB Foundation volunteer and graduate of the University of Technology where she studied Hospitality and Tourism management put her skills to work when she created the Yam Fruit cake using the yellow yam.

This fruity cake requires the following ingredients: (1)

18oz. dark sugar,

1/2 cup rum & wine,

1/2 lb. preserved fruits  soaked in wine,

1 cup flour,

3 tsb. baking powder,

1 tsb.

2 lbs. Boiled Yellow Yam (Grated),

3 eggs,

3 ozs. margarine….

In a bowl mix butter and and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Beat in Yellow Yam. Sift flour and baking powder, Pour wine mixture. Add fruits and browning. Mix well. Bake in greased tin at 350oF for 1 hour. Cool and then removed from tin and slice and enjoy…. To enhance the presentation of the cake you can add assorted color food sprinkles or icing. For our application we used assorted color food sprinkles.

Yam Cup Cake

Raymond Ferguson, Alesha’s assistant in the kitchen and KB Foundation volunteer helped to bake up a storm with the Yam Cup Cake Original recipe which makes 24 cupcakes (2)
Kimroy Bailey Foundation Yam Cup Cake with Food Sparkles

1 pound yams, peeled and cubes

4 eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar


Kimroy Bailey Foundation volunteer Raymond Ferguson, adding sparkles to yam cup cake
  1. Place a steamer insert into a large saucepan, and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Cover, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the yams, recover, and steam until very tender, about 15 minutes. Remove yams from steamer and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 2-12 cup cupcake tins with paper liners.
  3. Place eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla extract, and cooked yams in a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir dry ingredients into yam mixture, mixing just until combined. Pour batter into paper liners, filling 2/3 full.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Beat together cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract and confectioners sugar; mix until smooth. Frost cool cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

Support the Cause – Donate to the Kimroy Bailey Foundation

Yam Ice Cream

ice cream
Kimroy Bailey Foundation Yam Ice Cream made with Negro Yam
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of Negro Yam
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (355 ml) whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon (9g) cornstarch
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Prepare the frozen boiled negro yam that is already mashed by thawing at room temperature, yet slightly chilled. Drain on a colander to remove excess liquids. Set aside (thaw frozen yam the same day you will mix it in the milk base).
  • In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. Whisk till the cornstarch is blended and there are no more lumps. Set aside.
KB Foundation Yam farmers waiting to be served yam ice cream
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining milk, heavy cream, coconut milk, sugars and salt. Mix well. Over medium high heat, bring this mixture to a boil, then lower heat to simmer until sugar gets dissolved. Do this for 3 minutes.
  • Take the milk mixture out off the stove top. Slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return the saucepan to the stove. Cook over medium high heat till the milk mixture thickens in about 1 minute, while continuously stirring. Do not stop stirring or mixture sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat. Let the mixture cool by setting the pan on a bowl filled with ice water. Cool for about 20 minutes and whisk mixture every now and then.
  • Transfer mixture to a container. Cover and refrigerate until chilled for 4 hours or overnight.
  • After a few hours (or the next day), combine 1 ½ cups of the chilled ice cream base with the boiled, mashed negro yam or purple yam (if available). Use a food processor or a blender to mix. Pulse for about 5 minutes till the purple colored ube incorporates into the milk mixture.
  • Pour the entire ice cream base into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When done, transfer ube ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for at least 4 hours or till firm.


Ice cream did not freeze within 4 hours window, a number of variables could have contributed to this included freezer temperature lower that ideal or freezer might contain more contents that is considered optimal. If yam ice cream does not freeze leave to sit overnight in freezer

A specific type of yam was required for the yam ice cream which is very soft by nature. The Negro yam produces better results for the ice cream vs the yellow yam.  This type of yam would aid in the moisture of the ice cream. Food coloring was added to the final product to give the yam a purple look, since negro yam is soft and white it absorbs the color well. If you try to use yellow yam you will not yeild these results because yellow yam is naturally yellow as the name suggests and has a rougher surface than that for negro yam.

Concluding from Experience and recommendations

Kimroy Bailey Foundation volunteers and yam farmers pause for a photo after the yam by-products presentation

Yam Fruit Cake, Yam Cup Cake and Yam Ice Cream are a few of the

Persons are not aware of the vast potential applications of yam, the Kimroy Bailey Foundation is exploring innovative ways yam yam can be introduce to the everyday diet or as deserts. The numerous health benefits of yam is unknown to a vast majority of the population. The host of health benefits found in yam is a great motivating factor for our Foundation, this will aid in a healthier community and ultimately a healthier country if yam is consumed on a larger scale. This will not only enhance the market but will also help the consumer in a balancing while stabilizing the income stream for yam farmers.

Thanks for reading, please feel free to provide your feedback below and join our Facebook Team.



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Comments (5)

  • Floyd Reply

    So what are you guys doing with those products? Sounds like you guys are sitting on some decent products.

    April 11, 2015 at 5:26 pm
  • Dwight Reply

    Nice wonder how it taste

    May 3, 2015 at 3:49 am
  • prosper Reply

    Good, can you teach me to do the same?

    January 2, 2016 at 4:22 pm
  • Donna Foster Reply

    Other innovative ways of using the yellow yam is to make flour which can be added to flour for making pasta, noodles, rice of yam, bread -yam bread, Jamaican yellow sunshine Pound cake, add riced yam to ingredients for making roti, pita bread, naan etc. Just finished baking a yellow yam sunshine cake. I don’t call it yam cake. I name it Golden Delicious Pound cake. Try it. Put any alcohol you want in it and maintain it’s yellow color with egg yolk.
    I wish that I could show you a picture of it.

    July 2, 2017 at 4:59 pm
  • Eve McClusky Reply

    Thank you

    October 28, 2020 at 11:53 pm

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