Sweet potatoes and yams: what’s the difference?

Sweet potatoes and yams: what’s the difference?

Some people use the words yam and sweet potato interchangeably. The truth is that potatoes are not sweet potatoes and sweet potatoes are not potatoes!

Even on the outside of canned sweet potatoes, they are called “potatoes.” Very wrong. If you search for sweet potato recipes on Google, you will get all kinds of sweet potato recipes!

How did this mistaken identity come about?
Since they are both root vegetables, it is believed that enslaved Africans in the United States referred to the smooth, orange-fleshed sweet potato as “yam” due to its similar appearance when extracted. Farmers then began using the term “potato” to distinguish it from the hard, white-fleshed sweet potato varieties, and the name stuck.
Face it, for advertising purposes, the word “yam” takes up less space than the word “sweet potato.”
Sweet potatoes are an orange or red root vegetable native to the Americas. Their scientific classification is Ipomoea potatoes. They belong to the morning glory family and are not related to potatoes or white potatoes and originally come from Central or South America.
However, 50% of the sweet potatoes in the United States are grown in North Carolina. They have pointed ends and smooth skin that ranges in color from tan to yellow to orange, red, or purple.
The color of the inner flesh varies from white to orange or reddish-orange to purple. When cooked, sweet potatoes are more tender and sweeter than yams or regular white potatoes.
They are very nutritious, containing protein, calcium, iron, sodium, vitamin A and beta-carotene. They are stored in the pantry for three to four weeks. Never store it in the refrigerator as it will become solid and taste bad.
Potatoes, on the other hand, belong to the lily family and come from Africa and Asia. It is scientifically classified as Dioscorea approximation. Potatoes grow much larger than sweet potatoes, sometimes reaching three to four feet in length, and weighing 80 pounds.
They have a rough, brown skin that looks almost like tree bark and is difficult to peel. The inner flesh is white, yellow, purple, or pink — not orange — and tastes dry and starchy. About 70% of all potatoes come from Nigeria and are difficult to find in local grocery stores.
They are more likely to be found in international markets or ethnic food stores. If you call your local grocery store and ask for potatoes, they will direct you to the sweet potato section. Most potatoes are somewhat toxic when raw and should be cooked before eating.
The nutritional aspects of potatoes are carbohydrates, fibre, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and vitamin E. They are stored better than sweet potatoes – for up to four to six months.
After the sweet potatoes are cooked, mix in your favorite ingredients and enjoy. Here are some ideas:
Sweets: apples, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, cranberries, cream cheese, honey, marshmallows, pecans, raisins, and walnuts.
Appetizers: black beans, broccoli and cheddar cheese, chicken, garlic aioli, goat cheese, rosemary and olive oil, salsa, sausage, spinach, tomatoes, and white beans and kale.
I know I’m fighting an uphill battle through years of history and tradition by trying to convince you not to call sweet potatoes “potatoes,” but I’m writing these articles to share the correct information with you, so I did my best. Do me a favor and count how many people sitting at the Thanksgiving table call sweet potatoes by their actual name or how many people call them “potatoes.” Let me know your result.
Regular baked sweet potatoes
This makes a simple side dish that tastes great.
2 pounds of sweet potatoes, about 2 or 3 medium-sized potatoes
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1/2-inch pieces. Add to your largest skillet and add the melted coconut oil, salt, and brown sugar on top. Toss to coat all the sweet potatoes, then spread to arrange them in an even layer. You don’t want the potatoes to overlap or you’ll end up with steamed potatoes instead of roasted potatoes. Turn every 10-15 minutes, and cook for 27 to 35 minutes.
Seasoned roasted sweet potatoes
This is delicious but also has the sweetness of the potatoes.
2 pounds sweet potatoes – 2 or 3 medium potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1/2-inch pieces. Add it to the largest skillet you have and drizzle with olive oil. In a small bowl, add salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and garlic powder and mix. Sprinkle over potatoes. Toss to coat all the sweet potatoes, then spread to arrange them in an even layer. You don’t want the potatoes to overlap or they will steam instead of roast. Turn it every 10-15 minutes and cook for 27-35 minutes.
Cooked African yam
Real yam is a gentle flavor ready to accept any flavor you want to add. Herbs work well with it.
1 tuber of white buna yam
water
2 teaspoon salt
sugar (optional)
Cut the yam tuber into 1-inch round slices. Using a sharp knife, cut the outer edge to remove the outer covering.
If the tuber has a large circumference, cut the slices in half to make cooking easier.
Wash the yams well, then put them in a large bowl. Add enough water to cover the potatoes and add salt.
Place on medium heat and cook until the yams are soft. Potatoes are cooked if they pass through easily with a fork.
Drain the potatoes (do this to avoid soggy potatoes) and serve immediately with egg sauce, beef stew, or omelettes with herbs such as basil, chives, cilantro, dill, marjoram, oregano, parsley, or thyme.
Twice baked sweet potatoes
Check out the extra toppings mentioned above.
3 large sweet potatoes
4 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter
A pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
Streusel layer – Instructions below
5 tablespoons flour
A quarter teaspoon of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
A quarter cup of chopped walnuts or pecans
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Optional: a quarter cup of chopped basil
Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork or knife and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until tender. You can also microwave it on high for 13 to 15 minutes.
Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, cut them in half and scoop out the orange flesh and place it in a bowl, leaving a quarter-inch of sweet potatoes next to the skin.
Mix the brown sugar, butter, salt, and cinnamon with the sweet potato flesh until smooth.
Using a large upside-down pastry bag, pipe back filling into the sweet potato shells or just spoon into the shells.
For streusel topping: Combine flour, cinnamon, nuts, butter, brown sugar, and optional basil in a small bowl. Mix the ingredients until the butter begins to warm and the ingredients begin to stick together. Top the stuffed sweet potatoes with streusel and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.
It can be prepared in advance, even topped with streusel and stored in the refrigerator. Simply reheat for 30 to 40 minutes until the topping is melted and bubbling.
Glazed sweet potatoes
This is my favorite for Thanksgiving dinner. This can be prepared the next day and reheated for serving.
3 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Cover with water and boil until fork tender, about 30 minutes. When finished cooking, remove from the water and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove peels and cut into 1/2-inch rounds. While cooking, grease or spray the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan.
Create a glaze by melting the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Once melted, add the brown sugar and stir constantly until the butter is fully incorporated into the brown sugar.
Place sweet potato slices in a single layer in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan. Pour the glaze over the top making sure there is some glaze on each slice. Cover pan with foil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. If reheating the next day, preheat oven to 350°F and reheat for about 30 minutes or until bubbly.




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