November 16, 2011
The yam, often confused with the sweet potato, knows what it is, even if we don't.
In fact, the true yam, derived from African words njam, nyami, or djambi, meaning "to eat," is the tuber of a tropical vine Discorea batatas and comes from Africa, Asia, Latin American and the Caribbean.
The sweet potato happens to be a totally different vegetable and is a member of the morning glory family and mainly cultivated in South America.
One thing they do have in common is that neither are potatoes at all.
With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, I thought we’d clear up some misconceptions surrounding them, since one is bound to show up on your table.
Or a table near you.
Of course with them being so different, it's still confusing to tell them apart.
Size is one way to tell, but since you're not likely to see a 150 lb. yam (they can grow big), it's a bit tricky.
Sweet potatoes are orange and purple inside and so are some of the 200 varieties of yams.
Don't think you can tell by mere signs, since they're mismarked in markets all the time.
(Although you are likely to find real yams in international markets.)
But a few clues:
Yams have darker skins, and when you cook them, they're earthier, less mealy and actually sweeter than sweet potatoes.
Also high in potassium and vitamins C and B.
They’re also interchangeable in any recipe sweet potatoes are called for.
I’m glad we cleared this up.
So let us know what plans you have for Discorea batatas or dicotyledonous.