Nagaimo belongs to the family of yam. But unlike other yams, nagaimo can be eaten raw. You don’t see it in regular American grocery stores, but it’s a pretty common root vegetable in Asian grocery stores. Whenever nagaimo is on sale, I buy extra and keep them for later use.
It’s pretty easy to prepare them. Peel the skin with a peeler or a knife, and grate them. A simple and cheap grater works great and lasts forever. I recommend to buy one, because it can grate garlic and ginger as well.
Nagaimo is much softer than other root vegetables, but very, very slippery. Some people may experience itch when touching it with bare hands, but the itch will go away when the hands are washed with vinegary water. A few drops of vinegar in grated nagaimo prevents it from turning color to reddish brown.
Nagaimo is harvested once a year, from winter to spring. When they are sold during summer months at grocery stores, they are taken out from storages. If it’s tightly wrapped, it can be kept in a refrigerator from 1 week to 10 days.
For longer storage at home, it should be frozen. You can freeze it peeled or grated. The easiest way is to freeze the grated nagaimo id in a ziploc bag. Whenever you need, take out the bag from the freezer, and break the portion you need, and thaw it in the room temperature. The rest can go back to the freezer.
How to Choose a Good Nagaimo
- Thicker and straighter ones are better
- Heavy in hands
- Avoid the ones with dark blemishes, bruises, and cuts
Recipes Using Nagaimo