The Skinny on Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes and yams are actually two very different vegetables.

While American grocery stores use the terms interchangeably, what they are always referring to is actually a sweet potato, not a yam. Garnet Yams and Jewel Yams, for instance, aren’t yams at all — they’re sweet potatoes! Candied Yams? Nope, sweet potatoes. Confused yet?

In fact, chances are that you’ll never accidentally buy an actual yam instead of a sweet potato at your local grocery. You can find “true” yams as well as other varities of sweet potatoes in Caribbean and Asian specialty grocery stores.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Sweet potato gnocchi over at the Sassy Radish, via CRAFT.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sweet Potatoes are on the rise

Via Slashfood:

ConAgra Foods plans to build a sweet potato processing plant in Louisiana. Primarily, of course, to cut them into fry shapes, so that fast food restaurants in the US can offer sweet potato fries on their menus.

Sweet potatoes are one of today’s hottest food trends with per capita consumption up 21 percent in the past five years according to the USDA. A 2007 Technomic survey showed that 85 percent of the general population is favorably inclined toward sweet potatoes.

But where will you be able to find sweet potato fries? It is a mystery.

A spokeswoman for ConAgra declined to tell Slashfood which fast-food restaurants might be using their taters citing confidentiality agreements.

Keep an eye out for sweet potato fries to pop up on fast food chain menus on or after November 2010, when the facility is slated to be built.

State Fair of Texas

The State Fair of Texas is underway, and between the fried Oreos and fried butter (not joking), there are three sweet potato dishes to be found in the chaos.

Sweet Potato Fries, found at The Dock restaurant, located in the Embarcadero Building on Nimitz Dr.

Piping-hot sweet potato fries sprinkled with Lawry’s seasoned salt, covered in shredded cheddar cheese and broiled to perfection. Brown sugar and cayenne pepper are dusted on the fries followed by a topping of crumbled bacon. Served with a side of Ranch dipping sauce.

Fried Sweet Potato Pie

Fried Sweet Potato Pie, found at the following locations: Cottonbowl Plaza 2 (in front of the Lagoon); Front Gate 2 (near the Auto Show and the Exposition/Parry Avenue entrance); Tower Building 10 (in front of Cotton Bowl).

A generous portion of third-generation-recipe sweet potato pie filling is spread on a soft flour tortilla and lightly fried to a crisp. Served plain or with a light sprinkle of cinnamon and powdered sugar.

And finally without a photo...

Twisted Yam on a Stick (HINT: It is not actually yam, how hard is this??) Found at Front Gate 2 (near the Auto Show and the Exposition/Parry Avenue entrance)

A delicious, towering, spiral-cut sweet potato on a 13” skewer is fried to a delicate crispy texture, then gently rolled in butter and dusted with cinnamon and sugar.

Monday, September 28, 2009

1" buttons to spread the word!

Sweet Potatoes are not Yams

Available for purchase on etsy! If they aren't in stock, send me a convo or leave a comment here and I'll restock them for you. What do you mean you have no use for 1" buttons with sweet potatoes on them?? That is un-American.

Japanese Sweet Potato


This is pretty uh... yeah. But it's a roasted sweet potato. When it gets chilly, vendors set up and roast them and sell them for you to enjoy plain. They were sweet and fairly moist but wow it was a lot of sweet potato to eat all by yourself.



Let's pretend I talked about why I've been MIA on this blog for so long. Now, moving right along!

I linked to, included on the flyer, and made the Creamy Sweet Potato Soup for Thanksgiving last year. As expected, the family (12 or so large) was up in arms about not having "candied yams" complete with marshmallows. They weren't happy about it... until they had this soup. I think most of them were humoring me, but man I'm telling you, they followed me back into the kitchen for seconds while I was finishing up all the cooking for the actual dinner.

Basically it was fantastic, just delicious. Don't wait for Thanksgiving to make it, but trust me that your relatives will get over the lack of sugary sweet potatoes and toasted marshmallow topping if you serve them this soup. It's going to be my new way of keeping them from bothering me about when the turkey's going to be done.


yet more yam

I can't tell if this is supposed to be an actual yam or if the slightly tapered ends denote a sweet potato but either way it is awesome.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sweet Potatoes at Thanksgiving!

You might get a bunch of funny looks if you suggest something other than candied yams, but there's so many other options for sweet potatoes this holiday season. Here's some I've dug up, starting with the recipe I'll be debuting at the table on November 27th. Share any recipes you have in the comments!

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup via Elise at Simply Recipes

A list of other sweet potato recipes via Elise at Simply Recipes

Sweet Potato Lyonnaise by Gordon Ramsay

Sweet Potato, Spinach And Feta Frittata by Gordon Ramsay

Classic Sweet Potato Pie by Alton Brown

Sweet Potato Waffles (yes, waffles) by Alton Brown

Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes by Alton Brown

Sweet Potato Fries

A friend of mine made these delicious sweet potato fries for me during her last visit. They are awesome.

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1 - 2 Sweet Potatoes (or 1 gigantic Sweet Potato)
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel sweet potatoes (optional) and slice into thick strips (like steak fries.) A sharp knife will be helpful here. Drizzle olive oil over baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange sweet potato fries in one layer on baking sheet, turning fries over to coat in olive oil and add more if necessary (but not too much or they will be soggy.) Salt and pepper to taste once more. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip fries over for maximum crispiness. Depending on your preferred level of char, cook for another 15 - 30 minutes, or until fries are done to your liking.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

AOL Food -- again!

Head on over to AOL Food again if you would -- there's a little blurb from yours truly about the history of Sweet Potato Awareness. I've pasted it below.

It was around Thanksgiving three years ago when I first realized that there was some huge misunderstanding about sweet potatoes. I had asked my father to pick up yams at the store, for the candied yams recipe I would be making. I said "yams" at the time because, well, it's what the dish called for. When he returned and announced the purchase of sweet potatoes, those three tapered, pale-skinned tubers in the clear plastic, I reprimanded him. "We need YAMS for candied yams, Dad," I had said to him, "not sweet potatoes!"

Apparently I had to buy the yams myself if I wanted them bought at all, so I set out for a different grocery store to right my father's wrong. There in a bin was a mountain of familiar-looking tapered tubers, clearly labeled as "YAMS." I became suspicious and doubtful; was this some sort of yam scam I was unearthing? Was this something I should have learned in school? I hoped my family wasn't the only one who had fought over yams VS. sweet potatoes, but something told me we weren't alone.

Tentatively, I brought my bag of clearly-labeled yams to the check-out stands, heading straight for the one without a line. A self-check-out kiosk, that happens to clearly enunciate whatever produce you enter, for the store to hear. But what the robotic female voice said was not "yams" as I had expected, since I had taken the tubers from a bin with that name. Instead, she instructed me, "move your, SWEET POTATOES, to the belt." Right then and there, as my hands flew to my head in confusion and frustration, I knew that something needed to be done.

How many families had quarreled on the eve of Thanksgiving when they thought their candied yams would be ruined by sweet potatoes, when the recipe doesn't use yams at all? How many husbands had stood in front of the produce bin, warily reaching for what was labeled "yams" when their shopping list said "sweet potatoes," not knowing that the terms had become interchangeable? How many Americans thought they were digesting yams instead of sweet potatoes as they ate Aunt Cindy's candied yams? In our culture, yams and sweet potatoes are both the same thing: orange-fleshed, light-skinned, sweet and moist tubers with tapered ends. You say tomato, I say tomatoe -- it's the same logic.

You say yam, I say sweet potato.

As I dug deeper, it became clear that sweet potatoes needed to be appreciated year round, not just near the holiday season. Sweet potatoes -- not yams -- have twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, 42% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, four times the recommended daily allowance for beta carotene, and if eaten with the skin intact, they contain more fiber than even oatmeal. And hey, they taste good with brown sugar and marshmallows; what's not to like?

Had the USDA not stepped in to require that all products labeled "yam"
also carry the label "sweet potato," perhaps things wouldn't be as confusing as they are now. But many years ago, when the familiar bright orange sweet potato was introduced to our country, we already had many other lighter-fleshed varieties of sweet potato. To properly differentiate between the types, we began calling them yams despite the fact that actual yams are very different. Who knew this would become so confusing?

When you buy a can of candied yams, look at the label closely and you'll see the words "sweet potatoes" somewhere on it. Instead of allowing it to confuse you, consider instead that it's simply translating, as if to say, "I am not made from yams at all; I am made from sweet potatoes."

Nutritional Deliciousness

The numbers for the nutritional sweet potato speak for themselves: almost twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, 42 percent of the recommendation for vitamin C, four times the RDA for beta carotene, and, when eaten with the skin, sweet potatoes have more fiber than oatmeal. All these benefits with only about 130 to 160 calories!


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Blogs on Parade

While I've been out of the country to Japan for the past nine days, apparently this blog got some recognition:

Slashfood and AOL Food both were kind enough to link over here. Thanks and hello to any new visitors!

For Your Edification

To clarify:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I've updated the look of the flyers from last year, edited some things, removed others and added some new information. I also changed the recipe for sweet potatoes to a sweet potato cornbread dressing, which I plan on using for the vegetarian dressing for Thanksgiving this year.

It's black and white so it won't use much ink, and I've included cropmarks so you know where to cut in order to get three mini flyers.

Download the flyer here!

Here's how it looks when printed on neat Greengrocer's Brown Bag Paper in Kraft:

Friday, November 2, 2007


Well, it's officially November.


I have updated the flyers for this year, so I'll post those in the next few days.

I'd love to hear your sweet potato or TRUE yam recipes! Please feel free to comment with them and I'll post them and give you credit.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Okinawan Sweet Potato Recipe!

Thanks to EmilyB for the wonderful recipe link, and to Reid over at 'Ono Kine Grindz for the Hawaiin recipe.

Okinawan Sweet Potato and Haupia Pie

(Haupia is a coconut milk-based Hawaiin dessert.)

This recipe utilizes sweet potatoes found in Okinawa, Japan. Okinawan sweet potatoes, when cooked, develop a purple flesh and a delicate taste.

You can find Okinawan sweet potatoes at Asian groceries (or in Okinawa, har har), and be sure to ask an employee if you can't find one!


I'd also like to thank everyone for their kind sweet potato and/or yam encouragement: thanks, everyone!

I LOVE hearing from people who plan to pass out the fliers, so please don't hesitate to comment and let me know where you intend to distribute them.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

yams = evil

Man uses can of "yams" to break into store.

If by yams they mean cadied sweet potatoes.

Don't get any ideas!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Flyers are done!

Even though Kinko's has a problem with not sucking, the flyers are done! I only have 120 of them which isn't many at all, is it? Hopefully I'll run out and have to get more made. But how hard is it to print a two-sided page and cut at cropmarks without cutting crooked WITH A MACHINE WHOSE PURPOSE IN LIFE IS TO CUT STRAIGHT ALKSJASAS

Flyers hooray!!

Sweet potato awareness!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


It's hard to find YAM recipes, but it's easy as SWEET POTATO PIE to find sweet potato recipes! Please ignore any instances of the word "yam" because, I assure you, they're all talking about sweet potatoes.

FOR THE RECORD: Some people call the deeper orange, red-skinned sweet potatoes (Garnet Yams [not a yam]) "yams," but call the lighter-skinned and paler-fleshed sweet potatoes (Jewel Yams [not a yam]) "sweet potatoes," to differentiate between them. But they're both just sweet potatoes, okay?? OKAY??

Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan Topping from Simply Recipes

Maple-Glazed YamsSweet Potatoes with Pecan Topping also from Simply Recipes

Sweet Potato and Cornbread Stuffing, which was ALMOST the recipe I featured on the flyers.

A slew of other recipes from the same site.

Sweet Potato Pie from, which IS featured on the flyer.

Sweet Potato Apple Casserole from Food Musings.