Something happened last week. It could have easily just passed but not in my case. I have a keen eye for waste reduction and money saving. Plus, if you have ever toiled the ground, prepared the land, dug it to put seeds or seedlings, controlled weeds that are determined to take over; if you have done these things either in person or you paid people to do it for you, you will know that any loss after harvest is very very painful.
But who knew that the yams that we harvested from our farm this year and that we stored in the house will be torched, by fire!
Our yield from our second attempt at yam farming was damn impressive. We (together with some dear people) constructed in our house a storage place using local materials that we could find around. We used iron bars, bamboo sticks and woods. And the storage space was located right under the mango tree that is growing in our compound, so that the mango tree provided shade from the sun.
So my people, the something that happened last week was that the fire that was set to the brushes surrounding our house fence jumped on the mango tree. Anyways, long story short some of the yam tubers caught fire and got somewhat cooked before we could finally put the fire out.
As you can imagine there was a bit of commotion in trying to put the fire out. But we succeeded and even had a good laugh at ourselves afterwards. And then the yams. What about the affected yams? I was thinking. Would I just leave them and let them rot or throw them away, like throw money away? No! Looking for who would buy the yams tubers in their current state was not an option either. And yes, I could roast one, two or three….but that is the much my family and neighbour can eat until we are tired of eating.
So, to curb our losses and prevent wastage, here is how I turned our haphazardly-somewhat-precooked yam tubers to yam flour aka “Elubo”; which is a stable food for Nigerians especially for the people from the western part.
To turn your yam tubers to yam flour aka “Elubo” by yourself and from scratch, you don’t need much. You need water, a big paint bucket or any container as this depends on the quantity you will make, a sharp knife, broom and parker to collect the yam peels which you also can give to your goats, rams, sheep to eat should you happen to be rearing them.
Yam tubers to yam flour aka “Elubo” – Day one
Leave the sliced yams soaked in warm water overnight. This is an important step. Someone once told me this step helps to remove the starch from the yam.
Yam tubers to yam flour aka “Elubo” – Day two
Prepare the material on which you would spread the yam slices. I used a big thick polythene bag for mine. Ensure that to put your spread, you find a good location away from your other domestic animals, far from water and where there is good ventilation and nice sunshine. The aim is to make sure the yam slices dry out completely and evenly. So if you are doing this in the raining season be ready to pack them up when it is about to rain and to return them after the rain that is, if you put your spread in a completely open place.
Remove the sliced yam from the water. But did you notice the foam on top of the water? You can use a colander to remove the slices if you like. Me I used my hands instead (note you may experience slight itching afterwards -nothing serious though). With my hands I spaced the yams slices making sure they were not sticking together. You want the drying to be even.
Yam tubers to yam flour aka “Elubo” – Day three
What is left to do is to be checking on the yam slices and to start to flip over each and every slice. If you neglect this step, you risk having weevils on the underside. As you know, weevils will eat your yam slices and your wastage has started again.
When the slices are completely dry they are crushed and ground into smooth powder by a grinding machine. I store my Elubo in a clean dry air tight container. But before I store, I normally would pass the yam powder through a hand sieve to enhance better the smoothness of the Amala (food made from the Elubo powder) when it is prepared.
There it is ! Your own home made yam flour aka Elubo.
My people, have you made your own yam powder aka Elubo from scratch before? How was it for you?
Let's meet here again,
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