Old cocoyam originates from southeast Asia and new cocoyam from central and south America. It is a staple with African farmers. None of the plant parts are consumed raw because of its acridity. Thus, most traditional cooking methods employ heat by boiling, baking, roasting, or frying, either alone or in combination with other ingredients. it is may also be used as a thickener in soups and stew.
Cocoyams are herbaceous perennial plants belonging to the family Araceae and are grown primarily for their edible roots, although all parts of the plant are edible. Cocoyams that are cultivated as food crops belong to either the genus Colocasia or the genus Xanthosoma and are generally composed of a large spherical corm (swollen underground storage stem), from which a few large leaves emerge.