Monday, November 13, 2006

You Say Yam, I Say Sweet Pot-Ta-To

Yam, Sweet Potato. Sweet Potato, Yam. These are two terms for the same thing, right? As you can see by the photo, they are not the same. In the United States, we often use the name interchangeably.

The two are not related. The sweet potato is a root vegetable, part of the morning glory family and originates from Central and South America. The yam is a tuber originating from West Africa and Asia. When slaves arrived in the New World, they saw the sweet potato and called it yam since it looked similar to the vegetable from home.

The sweet potato has smooth, thin skin while the yam has rough, scaly skin. The sweet potato has a sweeter taste and feels moist in the mouth while in contrast the yam has a starchy taste and feels dry in the mouth. Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene while yams are not.

Yams, however are not commonly found in markets in the United States, so regardless of what the sign in the produce departments reads, you are most likely purchasing sweet potatoes. Yams are available in some Latin markets. I have not yet check our local international markets to see where they can locally be purchased.

Sweet potatoes are complimented nicely with brown sugar, butter, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, ginger, lemon juice, lemon peel, mace, marjoram, nutmeg, orange juice, orange peel, poppy seed, sage, savory and thyme. They can be roasted, steamed, boiled, baked, sautéed, mashed and fried.

Recipe Links
North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission recipes. Can also request a free recipe brochure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been gone for a bit & was excited to see all the information on fall vegetables. Thanks for the links and information!