Food - Drink
Sweet Potatoes Vs. Yams: What’s The Difference?
Fall is almost here, and maybe you’re already drinking pumpkin spice lattes, planning your Halloween costume, and dreaming of Thanksgiving dinner. Along with the festivities, fall is sweet potato and yam season, and as you peruse the produce section you might wonder, are sweet potatoes and yams the same thing?
As it turns out, sweet potatoes and yams are two very different things, and the tuber you might recognize as a “yam” is just a sweet potato. The confusion originates during the 1930s when Louisiana farmers cultivated an orange sweet potato and began calling them “yams” to differentiate them from their golden cousins.
The word “yam” had already been used as southern slang for sweet potato, coming from enslaved West African people who noted that American sweet potatoes reminded them of an African vegetable called “nyami”. Nyami, or true yams, has a rough husk similar to a coconut, can grow up to 45 feet long, and have a texture similar to yucca with a mild, sweet flavor.