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Article: Sweet Potatoes or Yams - Which is Which?: Sweet potatoes are also tasty eaten raw

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Forum: Article: Sweet Potatoes or Yams - Which is Which?Replies: 14, Views: 151
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Carson City, NV
(Zone 6b)

November 13, 2008
5:30 PM

Post #5786593

They are sweet like carrots but less likely to have a bitter aftertaste and are less stringy. Try some sliced thin on a green salad or cut into sticks and added to the ubiquitous veggie and dip platter for a party.
Glen Ellyn, IL
(Zone 5b)

November 13, 2008
5:59 PM

Post #5786694

That's a real difference between sweet potatoes and yams, which are toxic raw and must never be eaten that way.


Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

November 13, 2008
9:22 PM

Post #5787405

I've always WONDERED what the difference was! Now I know - thank you, Lois!!!! Can they be freely substituted in recipes? I have a recipe that calls for canned yams, but I've never seen such a thing around here!
Glen Ellyn, IL
(Zone 5b)

November 13, 2008
9:34 PM

Post #5787440

Are you sure the recipe isn't for sweet potatoes?

Real African yams are probably available where they sell imported foods and African foods.
Carson City, NV
(Zone 6b)

November 13, 2008
10:05 PM

Post #5787542

There is an ethnic grocery near my mom's house that sells a lot of hispanic and asian specialties. They have true yams there that look nothing like sweet potatoes. They have woody bark and are usually covered with wax or plastic wrap. I've never see a canned true yam product there, just the american version (which is really sweet potatoes.) Lois is right that you have to look really hard in ethnic or imported food stores to find real yam products.

I imagine the word 'yam' was used by Africans who were brought to the southern US a long time ago, because sweet potatoes were the closest thing to the yams they were used to eating in Africa. If you think about the english language there are a lot of unrelated plants that we apply the same or similar name to because we are more comfortable with familiar names, even if the result is confusing (geraniums, for example).

This message was edited Nov 13, 2008 2:06 PM
Carson City, NV
(Zone 6b)

November 13, 2008
10:19 PM

Post #5787585

There is an organization called HarvestPlus that is breeding sweet potatoes with extra vitamin A content and distributing the plants to poor farmers in areas with high rates of childhood blindness. The idea is that the families will feed these potatoes to their children and sell them to their neighbors and the kids will get the vitamin A they need. The crop provides a more consistent source of vitamin A than vitamin capsules that can be difficult to deliver to rural areas in a timely manner.

I think it's a great idea and I hope more of their crops in development are successful.
Glen Ellyn, IL
(Zone 5b)

November 13, 2008
10:32 PM

Post #5787616

Places where yams can be grown can probably grow sweet potatoes easily.
Peachtree City, GA
(Zone 7b)

November 13, 2008
10:56 PM

Post #5787704

Great info.

We use sweet potatoes with dinner alot because the kids dont think its a veggie. I havent done alot of research on it but I have heard it is just as nutritious as many other veggies.



Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

November 14, 2008
4:50 PM

Post #5790419

It's just a recipe that calls for "yams," but I've never managed to make it because I could never find yams! Now I know I can just substitute sweet potatoes for the "yams" and it will probably turn out fine. Thanks, everybody!
Chester, CT

November 18, 2008
2:26 AM

Post #5803432

our local asian market also has several varieties of huge yams. seems a daunting task to cook them. i wonder if harvestplus knows that sweet potato leaves are very tasty and have more protein than the potato itself.
Basking Ridge, NJ

November 23, 2009
6:14 PM

Post #7302807

I cook a lot with sweet potatoes and eat them raw too. The only problem I've found is that the raw slices or sticks turn black or get black spots fairly quickly (within minutes), which don't go away when they're boiled. I believe this is a reaction affecting the starch and may be worse with some varieties than others. I keep the slices in water until ready to use. Has anyone found a better remedy?
Crestline, CA
(Zone 8b)

November 23, 2009
10:06 PM

Post #7303597

Both my husband and I love sweet-potatoes, especially baked or deep-fried as french fries. I'd love to try some of the "dessert"-styled recipes, though. thanks so much for providing some! :)

I'm curious if there is a cultivar that's drought-resistant, or at least hardy though dry periods. I'd like to consider adding them to my drought-resistant, xeriscape garden (I'm planning on having a lot of the ornamentals double as food-plants, too). I guess more diggimg is in order!
Glen Ellyn, IL
(Zone 5b)

November 23, 2009
10:18 PM

Post #7303637

There are sweet potato chips available, too.
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

November 24, 2009
10:39 AM

Post #7305234

Did you know that sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index than white potatoes? Diabetics could tolerate sweet potatoes easier than white ones if it is used as a veggie instead of adding sugar and making it into a dessert. I like to slow cook thick slices of sweet potato in butter in a skillet so that the sides carmelize into a dark brown crust. These are almost as good as baked and they only take 30-40 minutes. To bake them my grandmother taught me to wash the tubers and dry them. Then coat them well with bacon grease, which she saved from breakfast and this keeps the skins soft and pliable while they bake. Consequently, the skins are easy to peel off after baking with your fingers, (after they cool a bit of course.) This is a wonderful vegetable. I will be trying to grow some next season.
Brea, CA
(Zone 10a)

November 19, 2012
1:36 PM

Post #9337327

My wife and I juice sweet potatoes. It's a large staple to our diet. It's incredible.

Maybe one day we'll try our hand at growing it ourselves, but its just so cheap to by at the store.

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

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A different recipe: Molamola 7 Nov 24, 2009 3:12 AM
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Yellow Sweetpotatoes Indy 5 Nov 25, 2009 2:24 AM
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