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.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

For Your Edification

To clarify:


Anonymous said...

THANK YOU! I am actually enjoying a delicious sweet potato right now and just happened to be sitting in front of my computer thinking to myself…“why does everyone so stupidly call this a yam?”. I googled it and I found you. My husband’s mom is from Montana and although she has lived in Canada for 30 years or so still uses some of her old school Montana lingo. “Yam” being one of many. Although, I suppose Americans are not alone in their confusion…when I bought these sweet potatos from Safeway they were marked “YAMS”. What gives? Good luck in your quest!

Anonymous said...

Dear Nicole,

I have just made soup with yam and sweet potato (as well as various other vegetables and coconut milk), and have been profoundly confused. Neither yams nor sweet potatoes are common here in Norway, where I live. I thought I couldn't find yam, and decided to substitute it with additional sweet potato. However, after reading your brilliant flyer, I now know that what I thought to be an especially large sweet potato, was in fact yam, which means that the soup was indeed made according to the recipe. (Except for okra, which I couldn't find.) Thank you very much - I think I will print the flyer, and distribute it to my grocer.

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