≡ Menu

Sweet Potatoes and Yams: What is the Difference?

When you sit down at the Thanksgiving table you are likely to see sweet potatoes; or are they yams? Whether they are baked, fried, or smothered in marshmallows their sweet taste is delicious with ham or turkey and their abundance in the Fall makes them an ideal choice for a holiday meal. As people have become more conscious of nutrition, sweet potatoes have gained more advocates and they have become more popular as an everyday side dish. But still, are we talking about sweet potatoes, yams, or both?

The sweet potato or yam you normally buy in the grocery store or see on the menu of a restaurant are both tubers from the plant, Ipomoea batatas, a member of the morning glory family. The skin color of a sweet potato may be firm or soft, white to orange. The name yam was given to the varieties of sweet potatoes that had soft, orange flesh to distinguish them from the firm, white fleshed varieties . The choice of the name “yam” arose because these soft, orange fleshed varieties of sweet potato resembled the African vegetable called “yam”. A relative of lilies and grasses, African yams are starchier and drier than American yams and can grow up to 130 pounds. To buy the true, African yam go to an international market.

Sweet potatoes are exceptionally high in nutritional value. They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, manganese, potassium, and beta-carotene. The more color in the flesh, the higher the content of beta-carotene which facilitates the production of vitamin A as well as reduces the risk of cancer. Sweet potatoes/yams may also be helpful in regulating blood sugar in diabetics. With so many good characteristics, sweet potatoes/yams should be on everyones list of preferred foods, so eat them up during the holidays and find new ways to incorporate them into meals throughout the year.

Vegetable Gardening pointer

Recommended Reading:

Growing Vegetable Soup
The Art of Simple Food II
Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Pots
The Art of Simple Food
Chez Panisse Café Cookbook
Kitchen Garden Experts
Eddies Garden
Groundbreaking Food Gardens
Book Review:Making the Most of Your Allotment
Small Spaces Big Ideas
The Joy of Pickling
Gardening with Less Water
The Little Gardener
Salad Samurai
Power Vegetables!
Gardening the Mediterranean Way
My Pantry
The Dirt Cure
The Ultimate Guide to Gardening
Chez Panisse Vegetables
The Friendship Garden Green: Thumbs Up
Food Rules
Lettuce Grows on the Ground
A Plant Based Life
Growing a Feast
Plantlab
The Urban Homesteading Cookbook
Dandelion & Quince
Eat your Drink
The Broad Fork
The Book of Greens
Eating on the Wild Side
Salad for President
The Power Greens Cookbook
In My Kitchen
Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables
Root to Leaf
On Vegetables
The Vegetables We Eat
Improving Your Soil
The Heirloom Life Gardener
Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow
Compost! Growing Gardens from Your Garbage
American Grown
Detox Kitchen Vegetables

Recommended Products:

Product Review: Sloggers Garden Boots