Yams vs. Sweet Potatoes

They are the same thing:  sweet potatoes.   At least here in American grocery stores they are.  Sweet potatoes are often mistakenly called yams, but true yams are not typically found in our markets.  From what I’ve read, the confusion may have come about once sweet potatoes became a staple grown in the south.  African slaves referred to them as yams  because they resembled true yams which were a common crop in Africa and the name stuck. True yams are huge and can grow up to 7 feet long!

At Whole Foods I recently saw Japanese Yams next to the Garnet Yams (both technically sweet potatoes).  Sweet potato varieties range in color from white to deep orange.  Here is a comparison of the two before baking:

The Japanese Yam is on the left and the Garnet Yam on the right.

Here they are after baking for about an hour:

They are both delicious.  I found the Japanese Yam to be a little sweeter than the Garnet Yam.  Whether you call them yams or sweet potatoes, one thing for certain is that they are an excellent food to include in your diet.

Per half cup, baked:  90 calories, 2 g protein, 3 g fiber

Excellent source of vitamins A and C

Contains minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, and  many others

Source:  National Agricultural Library

Do not refrigerate your sweet potatoes.  I made this mistake before Thanksgiving and ruined a huge bag.  I never do this but for some reason I stuck them in the fridge.  It was a very sad loss.  Store them on the counter for up to a week.  Plus, that way you see them, and are thus more likely to cook and eat them!  For the same reason, always keep some fruit out on the counter.

One quick joke and I’m done~

What did the sweet potato wear to bed?


Answer:  His yammies!  🙂


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3 Responses to Yams vs. Sweet Potatoes

  1. I love sweet potatoes made into fries and they are such a healthy option provided you bake them, not fry them

    • Corinne Goff says:

      I agree~ sweet potato fries (baked of course 🙂 ) are awesome! I even swear my skin looks better after eating sweet potatoes, most likely from all their vitamin A.

  2. Charles Lightsey says:

    Actually not both yams; though all root vegetables, a yam is a different species from a sweet potato which is in turn a different species from a potato altogether. Three separate categories yet yam as a marketing term has stuck around and will confuse even the most expert foodie. The yam did, as mentioned above, originate in Africa, the potato, south America. Sweet potato? I personally don’t know. Things I learned in chef school.

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