Frequently the name “sweet potatoes” and “yams” are used interchangeably in various conversations, cooking and supermarkets. But they are really two different vegetables. In fact, they are both root vegetables, they belong to two different plants – sweet potato is from the family of the morning’s glory, while Yam is related to Lily. Yummy is sweet in sweet potatoes, it is very large and nutritious.
It is the fact that yam and sweet potatoes have made a mistake on cans and tricks can cause a lot of confusion. Tell them here separately and cook properly.
Yam may not be a yam
Let us clarify a very important point sweet potato is not a yam, yam is not a sweet potato. They are both root vegetables from flowering plants, but they are not related and do not even have much in common.
What is (real) yam?
Yams are native to Africa and Asia, most of them from Africa. They are about lilies and can be as small as an ordinary potato or some as long as some (up to five feet in length). Yam cylindrical, black or brown, bark-like skin, white, purple or red fleshy.
Compared with sweet potato, yams is drier and more dry. They are shipped in more grocery stores these days, but the best chance of finding them is in the international and professional markets.
Sweet potato belongs to the genus Ipomoea. They are thought to have originated in Central or South America, are popular in the southern United States, and spread all over the world.
Due to the ripening process after harvest, sweet potatoes have extended their shelf-life so that they have a storage capacity of more than one year. You will find pre-peeled sweet potatoes cooked, sold in canned or frozen.
There are two main types of sweet potatoes, both of which are elongated yellow or orange tubers that taper off at each end. Pale sweet potato thin and light yellow, pale yellow meat. It is not sweet, with a dry, brittle texture similar to white baked potatoes. This darker skin, mostly incorrectly referred to as yam, has a thick, deep orange to pink skin with a sweet, vivid orange flesh and damp texture.
Currently, popular sweet potato varieties include Goldrush, Georgia Red, Centennial, Puerto Rico, New Jersey, and Velvet.
Sweet potatoes are used for delicious and sweet dishes, usually baked, mashed or fried. When it is pure, it can be used for soups as well as baked goods and desserts, including of course sweet potato pies.
It has also become the staple food on the Thanksgiving table, the most common is sweet potato sugar and marshmallows.
The Root of Confusion
From the African language njam, nyami or djambi, meaning “eat”, comes the English word “yam.” African slaves in the Americas started to call indigenous sweet potato “yams” because it reminded them of the staple food they knew in Africa. For this reason, the term generally applies to sweet potatoes throughout the southern United States.
Interestingly, chaos is not limited to the Americas. Okinawa’s famous “purple yam” is also a sweet potato, not a real yam. In Malaysia and Singapore, “yams” refers to taro. In New Zealand, this coffee is called yam.
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