If you’re like me you may have wondered: “What really is the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?”
To clear up the confusion we need to go back to the early 1900’s when sweet potato growers needed a term to differentiate the orange fleshed sweet potato from white fleshed varieties. Thus, the term yam began to be associated with the orange fleshed variety despite them truly being nothing like a yam.
Yams are native to Africa and have rough, brown bark-like exteriors with a starchy, dry and typically white flesh. Sweet potatoes on the other hand can have a variety of exterior and flesh colors though we most comely see them with orange or white colored flesh. Furthermore, it’s the flesh part that we have come to love for its sweet and moist. Anything labeled as a “yam” that is truly not a yam should be accompanied by the words “sweet potato” in our markets. However, this does not always happen with labeling and thus the confusion lives on.
So now that we have cleared up that your ‘candied yam’ holiday dish is most likely made with sweet potatoes… let’s talk about other ways to enjoy sweet potatoes:
Don’t forget to join us in the kitchen this month for other ways to enjoy sweet potatoes.