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Article: Sweet Potatoes or Yams - Which is Which?: Now I AM confused...........

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Forum: Article: Sweet Potatoes or Yams - Which is Which?Replies: 16, Views: 250
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Olympia, WA

November 13, 2008
2:02 PM

Post #5785837

I didn't think I was before.

Before ...Yams in the fresh produce section - longer, thinner, and more pricey... pale gold inside ... and is what I have purchased to make candied yams - no marshmallows, please - but rather you precook the yams and then glaze them w/ brown sugar, butter ... in the cooked butter sugar mix - closer to caramel status.

Before ...Sweet Potatoes - like yams on steroids - fatter - and less pricey...reddish orange inside ... and certainly not what I like to use for the above holiday treat, though I have been known to do it when "yams" haven't been available.

I would never and have never purchased canned "what evers"

SO - what have I been buying? The two roots look SO distinctively different -

Thanks for any clarification...
(Zone 5a)

November 13, 2008
2:58 PM

Post #5786043 have this all figured out exactly right. I'm still confused. Duh!
Glen Ellyn, IL
(Zone 5b)

November 13, 2008
3:18 PM

Post #5786105

Almost certainly, all "yams" sold in a US supermarket are sweet potatoes.

African yams, if they had any, would probably be labeled as such, to avoid just this confusion. Most African yams are quite large, much larger than sweet potatoes, with a rough brown bark-like skin.
Olympia, WA

November 13, 2008
11:04 PM

Post #5787728

OK - if what they are selling here are BOTH sweet potatoes, then what are the different species names? I wouldn't ask that question anywhere - except on DG. Hmmmmmmmm... The two roots are not the same...maybe they are only different varieties ...or maybe we are just all caught up in the problems of common names versus scientific names.

Thanks for making comment here ...

I guess I should have titled this "Now I YAM confused!" LOL
(Zone 5a)

November 13, 2008
11:52 PM

Post #5787860

I get even more confused when they charge twenty cents a pound more for one or the other. I've seen them both with the higher price. I know dern well they all come out of the same patch or field and that twerks my twiddle just a little. I like to use them both just to introduce a touch of pleasing color blend. Guess it is called Tricky Dicky merchandising.
Glen Ellyn, IL
(Zone 5b)

November 14, 2008
12:13 AM

Post #5787951

If they're sweet potatoes, they're all Ipomoea batatas.

But there are a lot of different varieties, in a lot of different colors, from white to dark red.

Here is a vendor offering 10 varieties - you can see how different they are. They have a Japanese sweet potato, too. [They don't seem to use the term "yam"]

(Zone 5a)

November 14, 2008
12:41 AM

Post #5788043

I grew up on the Mason Dixon Line. South of the line they were yams. That's one North of the line would know the difference anyway.
(Zone 5a)

November 14, 2008
12:49 AM

Post #5788071

Thanksgiving was butchering and cleaning up the garden time along that Mason Dixon Line. We let the turkey strut for Christmas dinner. Thanksgiving was Yams and Ham What Am. There were eight or ten hogs to butcher and twenty or so hands to feed. The ladies did the garden stuff and the cooking. In their spare time they cleaned the intestines making ready for the saussage stuffing. Those were the good ole days.
Olympia, WA

November 14, 2008
1:23 AM

Post #5788208

Thanks for link to pix - OK - this old dog just learned a new trick/lesson/way of thinking!!!

Metro DC, MD
(Zone 7a)

November 14, 2008
1:29 AM

Post #5788242

I'm glad that you wrote this. I have been trying to 'splain to my sister-in-law for years that her "yams" are really sweet potatoes. She lives near Seattle. Despite what the supermarket labels may say in the US, the so-called "yams" sold in the here are almost certainly SP's. LOL
Spanaway, WA
(Zone 8a)

November 23, 2009
7:15 PM

Post #7303029

You can blame some of the confusion on Louisiana farmers that marketed their orange flesh sweet potatoes as yams to distinguish them from the lighter fleshed varieties. Here's an article that gives a little more detail.
Water Valley, MS

November 24, 2009
8:09 AM

Post #7305148

I now live in Mississippi. I grew up here. We have always refered to sweet potatoes as such. As a boy my dad grew a variety named "Nancy Hall" only one year. They are very light colored and not very sweet. Thereafter we grew only "Puerto Rican", an old and very sweet variety. The PR is very thin skinned and not a good shipper. Now one of the primary varieties is "Beauregard". I live within a few miles of one of the largest sweet potoato growing areas in the U.S., Vardaman, MS.
PS: The light and darker ones are not grown in the same fields.
Oklahoma City, OK

November 25, 2009
3:30 PM

Post #7308635

Makes sense, after reading the link, that in the south "yams" or sweet potatoes are eaten at Christmas. It takes time to cure them. Thanks, y'all!
(Zone 5a)

November 25, 2009
10:48 PM

Post #7309817

Yams and Sweet Potato leaves are gormet chomppings for all deer 24/7 when they find them. They can not be grown where I live without fencing to keep the deer off of them.
San Diego-ScrippsR, CA
(Zone 10a)

November 28, 2009
12:34 PM

Post #7316000

Here, yams are dark orange and distinctly long and narrow. Sweet Potatoes are totally different in color and in the shape of a baked potato. You could no way mix up one with the other. I love yams. I'm the only one in the family. I love sweet potato pie. Totally different. Just my own observation from experience!
Middleboro, MA

November 19, 2012
4:41 AM

Post #9336861

I have always been of the opinion that yams and sweet potatoes in this country are just different varieties of the same plant. I would never insult them by putting marshmallows in the same bowl with them. That is for people who do not appreciate the delicately delicious flavor of this fine vegetable.
When I was a teenager, my father used to watch The Jeffersons every week. One day he asked me to make a sweet potato pie so that he could see what the fuss was all about. George Jefferson was always asking his wife to make a sweet potato pie. I found a recipe and made one, and it was love at first bite.
I still make these pies over the holidays even though my Dad is gone. If you have not tried a sweet potato pie, make one this holiday; you won't be sorry. Beats pumpkin pie hands down!!

Municipality of Murr, PA

November 19, 2012
10:00 AM

Post #9337188

I always preferred my sweet potatoes baked and with butter, garlic, and fines herbs; or with butter and sour cream and chives like a regular baked potato. Or add bacon bits.
The sweet flavor offsets and compliments the salty additions.
Don't forget sweet potato fries, and don't forget the shredded cheddar cheese on mine, please!

You can keep that marshmallow/honey/cinnamon/orange stuff for the pie, which I also agree with gardengirl86 is better than pumpkin.

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Other Article: Sweet Potatoes or Yams - Which is Which? Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
A different recipe: Molamola 7 Nov 24, 2009 3:12 AM
I didn't know... Sundownr 2 Nov 13, 2008 2:03 PM
Yellow Sweetpotatoes Indy 5 Nov 25, 2009 2:24 AM
Sweet potatoes are also tasty eaten raw Katlian 14 Nov 19, 2012 1:36 PM
Good phicks 1 Nov 13, 2008 8:41 PM

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