Recipe: Sweet Potatoes and Yams

|June 1, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Would someone please explain this to the supermarkets, their produce managers and employees, to their produce buyers and their “heads” that get paid the big bucks but don’t know anything about food products?

Consumers have questions on products and they can’t even ask produce workers in the supermarkets because they do not know the difference. I blame it on the bigwigs that make the big bucks – they do not train, nor do they care to train, employees so that they can be knowledgeable and help the consumer when questions arise.

First of all, they do not know the difference between a sweet potato and a yam!

Yams are so hard to find! I would love a true yam – but I have to settle for sweet potatoes. And I go for the “oranger” ones.

Wherever these supermarkets can get a good deal, that’s the way to go. They don’t care if it is what we want; they feel we will buy it anyway.

Not this gal – I buy what I want – not what they want me to buy.

To begin with, a sweet potato is not a potato. It is a tuber.

A sweet potato is a storage root (like a carrot is). A yam is a tuber.

A sweet potato is part of the Morning Glory family. A yam is from the yam family and are tubers like potatoes.

A sweet potato has a smooth, thin skin. They are yellow to orange-colored with an elongated shape, with ends that taper to a point. The yellow-skinned sweet potato has a yellow flesh that is not sweet and has a dry, crumbly texture (similar to a white baking potato). The dark orange or redder skinned sweet potato has an orange flesh that is sweet and moist. Depending on the type of sweet potato, the flesh can be from white to purple.

A yam’s skin is rough and scaly. They are shape long and cylindrical; sometimes with a split bottom resembling “toes”. There are several varieties and have a brown or black skin with a flesh ranging from white-off-white, purple or red (depending on the variety) and has a higher sugar content than a sweet potato making it much sweeter and yams have a higher moisture content.

A sweet potato tastes sweet. A yam can be more starchy.

Sweet potatoes are usually the size of regular white potatoes. Yams can grow as high as 7 feet tall and weigh up to 150 pounds! (Would I love to dive into that one!)

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A. Yams contain no vitamin A.

A sweet potato is grown in the USA (North Carolina, Louisiana, California, Georgia – mainly), China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Uganda. A yam is imported from the Caribbean and Africa. Yams need a longer growing season which the tropics has.

The truth is – there is a 99% chance that your supermarket is selling sweet potatoes and trying to pass them off as yams.


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