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Yams vs sweet potatoes

twentyoystahs Nov 21, 2006 06:35 PM

Can anyone tell me the difference? Tx.

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  1. HaagenDazs Nov 21, 2006 06:37 PM

    2nd entry in Google:


    3 Replies
    1. re: HaagenDazs
      twentyoystahs Nov 21, 2006 06:46 PM

      Thanks. This helps, but still doesn't really answer my question. I was aware that they were grown in separate locales --but how about taste? How do they differ? Or don't they?

      1. re: twentyoystahs
        FlavoursGal Nov 21, 2006 06:54 PM

        Yams are less sweet than Sweet Potatoes, and have a mealier texture.

        1. re: twentyoystahs
          HaagenDazs Nov 21, 2006 06:54 PM

          Yams are starchier so they will have less sugar. Here's a link that should be more helpful :-)


      2. Candy Nov 21, 2006 07:06 PM

        A true yam is a Caribbean vegetable and can be 12-15+ lbs. and does not resemble sweet potatoes that we get in our markets. The confusion came about when many years ago the sweet potato growers in Louisiana wanted to make their sweet potatoes appear different than the sweet potatoes in the rest of the country. But red skins, pale skins, orang etc. they are all sweet potatoes of different varieties. Visit a Latin or Caribbean market to see and but the rea thing.

        1. jen kalb Nov 21, 2006 07:07 PM

          I think this is a more satisfying explanation than the above non-technical explanations -

          in american markets (and excluding the true yams that are found in ethnic markets) yams = sweet potatoes.


          Having said that, there is still a variety of sweet potatoes (or call them yams!) to be found, in seed catalogs, markets and groceries. some have orange flesh, some darker, but the yam/sweet potato distinction is not necessarily going to help you understand what you are getting since most sellers are rather confused in this area.

          3 Replies
          1. re: jen kalb
            twentyoystahs Nov 21, 2006 10:33 PM

            yeah, but what prompted this post was a visit to a local produce market today. There were sweet potatoes and yams side by side. Looked pretty much identical to me, and priced the same at .99 a pound. So...i'm still a little confused, but i guess less confused than i was a few hours ago ;)

            1. re: twentyoystahs
              FlavoursGal Nov 22, 2006 12:48 AM

              Exactly. With the multi-ethnic nature of our supermarkets today, expecting to find true yams only in West Indian or "ethnic" markets and sweet potatoes only in "American" markets is going back in time to the 1980's.

              1. re: FlavoursGal
                Robert Lauriston Nov 22, 2006 12:55 AM

                True yams don't look like sweet potatoes, which are still labeled "yams" in many supermarkets.

                True yams might be a little easier to find than 20 years ago, but most supermarkets have never seen one.

          2. k
            kittyfood Nov 21, 2006 10:47 PM

            I like the "garnet yams," as they are called in most supermarkets, which have darker skin and flesh than the sweet potatoes. I believe they have a richer taste than the sweet potatoes, and I always use them for sweet potato pie.

            Sarah C

            1 Reply
            1. re: kittyfood
              Robert Lauriston Nov 22, 2006 12:56 AM

              "Garnet yams" are my favorite variety of sweet potatoes. Really good flavor, beautiful color.

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