The flesh of sweet potatoes can be white, orange, or even purple depending on the variety. The orange-fleshed cultivar was first brought to America many years ago. Producers and shippers decided to call them “yams” in English, which is the English translation of the African term “nyami,” in order to distinguish them from the white type that everyone was used to.
Currently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture mandates that labels containing the phrase “yam” also include the term “sweetpotato.” Despite labelling laws, most people still mistake sweet potatoes for yams even though that is not how they are actually classified.
Sweet potato and yams are both root vegetables, but they have a lot of differences when it comes to colour, taste and other properties. Lets breakdown the main differences between sweet potatoes and yams.
Sweet potatoes are almost always sweeter than yams. They have versatile flavour easily altered by cooking methods.
- Rose color skin with orange flesh
- Pale copper/tan skin with white flesh
- Red skin, dry white flesh
- Purple skin and flesh
All are more slender in appearance than a potato and have tapered ends; however each of these does have a different flavor profile.
Nutrition: Very nutritious. Has more sugar, protein, calcium, iron, sodium, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and water than yams do.
Taste: Starchier and more potato-like, usually not very sweet. Versatile; flavor easily altered by cooking methods.
Appearance: Varies considerably. Some yams are the size and shape of small potatoes; others can grow up to 1.5m (5ft) in length and weigh over 100lbs (70kg). Skins may be dark brown or light pink; insides white, yellow, purple, or pink.
Sweet potatoes and yams are both nutritious.
Nutrition: Very nutritious. Has more fat, carbs, fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin E than sweetpotatoes do.
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