Sweet potatoes vs. yams

Tue, 02/14/2006 - 3:42pm
By: The Citizen

Q: Is there a difference between sweet potatoes and yams?

A: Yes, there is a difference. The sweet potatoes we see most often in stores — bright orange flesh and pointed on both ends — are often called yams, but are indeed sweet potatoes (above, right). There’s also another type of sweet potato that has a yellow-orange skin, pale yellow flesh and a dry and fluffy rather than moist cooked texture. It isn’t nearly as sweet. It can grow as far north as New Jersey, while the dark-orange sweet potato is grown only in the South.

Yams (left) are an entirely different vegetable, according to “The Cook’s Book” by Howard Hillman. True yams are a staple in Africa. They grow on vines in tropical regions and although they look similar to sweet potatoes, contain very little Vitamin A (which sweet potatoes have in abundance), have just an average amount of Vitamin C, and are even sweeter than sweet potatoes. They’re not commonly available except in Latin American and African ethnic stores.

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