Most Don’t Know What The Differences Between Yams And Sweet Potatoes Are, Do You?

Updated October 11, 2017

When it comes to choosing between yams and sweet potatoes, the differences might surprise you. Practically twins, many people mistake yams for sweet potatoes and sweet potatoes for yams. So if you’ve done in on an occasion or two, you’re certainly not alone. They both have a similar shape, brown, earthy rough skin and look almost identical. So if they’re practically twins, is there a difference between yams and sweet potatoes? Or could you use one in place of the other without anyone noticing? While they certainly share similarities, yams and sweet potatoes are distinctly different. Here’s how…

A yam is not a type of sweet potato. And a sweet potato is not a type of yam. That alone is a telling fact about these root vegetables. They are different vegetables that simply look similar. But they are different, you just need to know what to look for.

Those who don’t look closely could easily mistake a yam for a sweet potato and vice versa. And if you’re trying to count calories and loose weight, you need to know the difference – or you could accidentally be eating more calories than you should.

Yams originate in Africa and Asia. They are often darker on the outside and have rougher skin. When cut open, their flesh is whiter and drier in texture. Because they are drier than sweet potatoes, they require more fats to make them tasty.

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Many grocery stores don’t even sell yams in the United States. Instead they’re just labeling sweet potatoes as yams and pricing them differently. While yams can grow in almost any climate, your best chance of finding one in the United States is at a farmer’s market or at a store that sells international fair.

Yams are perfect for roasting and make a delicious side dish. Dice them up and put them in a stew. And if you prefer something sweeter, candy some yams with butter and brown sugar.

Sweet potatoes usually have lighter skin than yams. Their ends are more tapered. And when you cut them open, you’ll find a more orange flesh. You’ll find both hard and soft kinds of sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes do not thrive in cold environments. This make yams heartier crops.

Sweet potatoes have sweet taste – obviously – and you don’t have to add much butter or sweetener. You can make you own homemade sweet potato French fries or just roast these delicious spuds in the oven.

Both are packed with vitamins and minerals but they do have different nutritional values.

Yams are packed with about 30 percent of your daily Vitamin C dose and 880 mg of potassium. The same size portion of sweet potato carries three times the daily dose of Vitamin A and 330 mg of potassium. If you’re counting calories, sweet potatoes have 20 percent fewer calories than yams.

Do you feel more equipped with knowledge to differentiate between yams and sweet potatoes now? Next time you go grocery-shopping pick some up and try them for dinner. They make a perfect side.