Yam, Yam, Yam

28 May

In a gut-striking moment of discovery, I have found out that yams and sweet potatoes, in fact, are not the same thing.

Traditionally in the South, we don’t use the word "yam." Instead, we refer to the food as sweet potatoes.

And in fact, this is entirely, entirely correct.

Actual yams and sweet potatoes are unrelated foods, as I randomly discovered tonight.

We normally have foods like pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving and sometimes Christmas, though that kind of phenomenon is pretty universal in the USA, I think.

You also hear of the dish called "candied yams."

Turns out, they’re actually sweet potatoes. The reason being, at least according to Wikipedia, is that the softer, sweeter, and orange potatoes are marketed as yams to differentiate them from a harder white variety.

Not withstanding, sweet potatoes are incredibly healthy food. They have a lot of beta carotene, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6. They’re also easy to prepare and have a distinctive flavor.

This is a picture of a sweet potato, but the ones we have in the South are usually longer, thinner, and have a slightly deeper orange color on the inside. The orange color is especially pronounced once they’ve been cooked.

Try one if you have the chance; you can bake them and eat them that way. Delicious AND nutritious!


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Posted by on May 28, 2010 in food


6 responses to “Yam, Yam, Yam

  1. Shmueli

    May 28, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    see i find all kinds of great uses for them. i use them in my cholent, which is a jewish slow cooked meat dish. its juices a long with the meat gives flavor to barley, legumes and onion as it cooks over night.

    i also like to make kumara chips, an old habit i picked up from my new zealander friends which are nothing more than sweet potato french fries. yum

    although, i do have to say sweet potato pie is like heaven on earth. all else pales in comparison

    • enamouredslave

      May 28, 2010 at 11:51 pm

      A Korean friend informed me that sweet potatoes go well with kimchi, so apparently they’re incredibly diverse.

  2. TheWingwoman

    May 28, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    So if what’s in the picture is a sweet potato, then what exactly is a yam?

    • enamouredslave

      May 28, 2010 at 11:52 pm

      A yam looks kind of like a sweet potato in a way, and of course there are different varieties. I’ll see if I can find a good picture or article describing the differences in detail.

  3. Doc

    June 9, 2010 at 1:21 am

    I used to be quite fond of sweet potatoes – then I got a bad one (baked with butter and spices), which my grandmother forced me to finish. I became quite nauseated and ill. Ever since, I can’t taste the things without getting that same feeling. This is why (among other reasons) I do not miss my grandmother…


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