The brief reply: Yams and sweet potatoes are completely different vegetables. It doesn’t matter what you name them, in actuality, most People are most likely piling candy potatoes onto their vacation dinner plates.
“The candy potato is extra Thanksgiving-ish,” stated Chris Scott, chef on theInstitute of Culinary Education. “There’s a variety of issues that you are able to do with them. You can also make a candy potato pie; you’ll be able to roast them and serve [them] as-is or put any form of topping on prime.”
Yams, however, are a lot much less frequent in the US, Scott stated. And it’s a protected wager that many People have by no means tried a real yam.
Someplace alongside the way in which, the 2 phrases grew to become interchangeable. So what’s behind the candy potato vs. yam confusion? We requested Scott and different meals specialists to elucidate.
The Distinction Between A Candy Potato And A Yam
Candy potatoes and yams are each tuber vegetables, that means they develop underground as a modification of a plant’s root or stem. In any other case, they’re not intently associated, stated Alyssa Pike, supervisor of diet communications on the International Food Information Council Foundation.
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Candy potatoes seemingly originated in Central or South America, however the ones we eat most are U.S.-grown. Candy potatoes additionally are available many various colours: purple, orange, yellow and brown on the skin, and white, yellow, orange and purple on the within, Pike defined. Sweet potatoes can also be white, however they don’t seem to be associated to common white potatoes.
Yams originated in Africa, Asia and Central and South America, and are available lots of of types. Yams are much less frequent within the U.S. and normally imported, Pike stated.
Scott stated true yams extra intently resemble yucca root, with pores and skin that’s a fibrous, “tree-bark form of texture.” Their flesh will be white, yellow, pink or purple.
Style-wise, candy potatoes are usually candy and moist, while yams are starchier and drier, with a milder taste, he stated.
How Candy Potatoes And Yams Turned Linked
The thought of calling a candy potato a “yam” took maintain across the 1930s, Scott stated.
At the moment, researchers at the Louisiana State University Horticulture Department determined to check with the candy potatoes grown within the state as “yams” in a nationwide advertising marketing campaign to tell apart Louisiana candy potatoes, which farmers promoted as sweeter and moister with orange flesh, in comparison with the drier, lighter-fleshed variations grown in different elements of the nation.
In accordance with LSU, the title “yam” derives from the Senegalese time period “nyami,” utilized by African slaves within the U.S. to explain candy potatoes, which reminded them of the true yams native to Africa. The title was shortened to “yam,” and it caught.
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“Within the U.S., the phrases ‘yam’ and ‘candy potato’ are sometimes used interchangeably, however they each check with what are technically candy potatoes,” Pike stated.
Among the confusion is rooted in the truth that there are two fundamental forms of candy potatoes grown within the U.S., every with totally different properties, and the way they’re labeled in supermarkets, Pike stated.
Tender candy potatoes are usually dark-skinned with orange flesh, and sometimes labeled as “yams,” despite the fact that true yams are largely present in specialty or worldwide shops, Pike stated. Agency candy potatoes have golden pores and skin and pale flesh and are mostly labeled as candy potatoes.
When utilizing the time period “yam” on labels for what are literally candy potatoes, the U.S. Division of Agriculture additionally requires the label to include the phrase “sweet potato,” she stated. For instance, Bruce’s brand canned yams, based in 1928 in Louisiana, embrace the outline “lower candy potatoes in syrup.”
“Though it might typically be known as yams, it’s extra more likely to be created from comfortable candy potatoes with darker pores and skin and orange flesh,” Pike stated. “Complicated, I do know.”
How To Prepare dinner Yams And Candy Potatoes
True yams must be boiled to interrupt down the fibers and starches to “do away with the woodiness,” Scott stated. Cooking in liquid makes yams extra palatable, after which they could possibly be fried or braised.
Conventional orange-fleshed candy potatoes will be ready some ways, particularly for Thanksgiving. Scott, who grew up in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, stated his grandmother made candy potato pie and “candy potato fluff,” or mashed candy potatoes topped with toasted marshmallows.
Now he likes to roast candy potatoes with further virgin olive oil and prime with a mixture of numerous seeds, like flax or sunflower, breadcrumbs, and dietary yeast.
White candy potatoes are normally drier than orange ones, and Scott stated they work nicely roasted and made right into a dumpling or gnocchi.
Which Is Extra Nutritious: A Yam Or A Candy Potato?
The numerous totally different kinds of candy potatoes and yams make typically defining their dietary properties powerful, stated Michele Sidorenkov, a Phoenix-based registered dietician nutritionist and founding father of My Millennial Kitchen.
Each comprise carotenoids, a gaggle of phytonutrients present in fruit and veggies with purple, orange or yellow pigments, she stated. Carotenoids — proven to spice up the immune system, guard in opposition to free radicals and reduce most cancers threat — are extra concentrated in produce with darker pigment.
Yams are increased in energy, carbohydrates, fiber and potassium, she stated. Candy potatoes are increased in sugar and will have extra vitamin A and C, relying on the kind.
“Deciding between a yam or a candy potato because the healthiest possibility is actually as much as the person and their well being objectives,” Sidorenkov stated.
How the greens are ready affects overall nutrition, she stated. Including further salt and fats provides further energy and sodium. Steaming, boiling or roasting candy potatoes with little or no fats is the healthiest possibility.
Candy potato pores and skin is filled with vitamins, so Sidorenkov recommends not peeling them. Yams, nonetheless, have a troublesome pores and skin and must be peeled.
On holidays like Thanksgiving, celebrating meals traditions and time with family members issues most, she stated.
“Thanksgiving will not be the time to be worrying about your food regimen or feeling responsible about having fun with the meals on the desk,” Sidorenkov stated. “Thanksgiving is a time to attach with family and friends over meals, tales and traditions.”
And, Scott stated, in the event you nonetheless wish to name your candy potatoes yams, it’s actually “not an enormous factor.”