Yam & Sweet Potato – Are They The Same?

Yam & Sweet Potato – Are They The Same?


24 November 2016


Sweet potatoes and yams (two very popular Thanksgiving dinner ingredients) are very often thought to be one and the same. What some have been calling yams are actually sweet potatoes, and vice versa, and it may surprise you to find out that you may not have had yams or sweet potatoes before! While labeled interchangeably in some markets like in the US, sweet potatoes and yams are two distinctly different things.

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What are Yams?

Yams are grown throughout Africa - Nigeria being the world’s most prolific producer with 70% export of the world market, and Asia. Yams are brown and have bark-like skin, with white and purple-toned flesh often with a harder consistency than sweet potatoes. Furthermore, yams are ingredients which are not frequently found in your local supermarkets, but in specialty or international food markets.

In comparison to sweet potatoes, yams are more dry and consist of more starch; made up of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber to allow slow uptake keeping blood sugar levels even. Furthermore, Asian medicine have majorly incorporated yams for eons as they contain allantoin; to encourage appetite and improve any bronchial troubles. Who knew this starchy vegetable is used for healing?


What are Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes come in two main varieties; gold-coloured skin with creamy white flesh - bringing a crumbly texture, and copper-coloured skin with sweet orange flesh - bringing a soft-textured and sweet-tasting potato. The varieties may appear in different shapes and sizes, but they are guaranteed to be smaller than yams!

Sweet potatoes consist of multiple health benefits, most importantly; antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, blood sugar-regulating nutrients, sources of iron, potassium and magnesium. Despite the specificity of each nutrient, they are highly versatile ingredients for both sweet and savoury dish recipes ranging from roasted, pureed, steamed, baked or grilled which are particularly special for this season in November!

Now that you are more informed about yams and sweet potatoes, get inspiration from these versatile and seasonal recipes to enjoy with your family members, friends and/or significant other!


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