Friday, April 29, 2016

Y: Yam or Sweet Potato?

 I Yam via photopin (license)

So, those yummy orange potatoes that go so well with turkey...they're not really yams?


But the name, yam, is taken from the African word nyami and means "to eat"...that's perfect for the holiday side dish, right?

Yep, and it does. But you're still not eating yams.

Very few people have probably even eaten a real yam.

Real yams have a thick dark skin, almost like a bark with a white center.

As a matter of fact, if what you're eating is orange- it's most likely a sweet potato.

Why then, do we call them yams?

The USDA allowed the name change to differentiate between the orange variety and the yellower variety of sweet potato.

It was a matter of convenience.

A yam to the left. Sweet potato to the right.
Read more about yam vs. sweet potatoes at
North Caroline Sweet Potatoes

Whether you call them a yam or a sweet potato, they still make a tasty dish. Rich in vitamins A and C. They are also rich in Manganese, a mineral that balances out blood sugar levels. They are also high in fiber and low in fat, or at least they are until I make them.

Here's my very most favorite sweet potato recipe, and boy is it easy...

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

1 large can of sweet potatoes
1/2 stick (or more, if you're Mr. Seckman and trying to clog an artery) of butter
*1/4-1/2  Cup brown sugar (depending on the power of your sweet tooth)
2 tsp (or more, depending on your taste) cinnamon

Drain sweet potatoes, then heat on stove or warm in microwave.
Add butter, sugar, and cinnamon and blend with beaters until smooth.
Warm again, until butter is completely melted.

They're ready to eat!

*I often substitute a sugar alternative like Splenda or Nutrasweet to lower calories or keep them diabetic friendly.

This A2Z post was brought to you by the letter Y. 


  1. Hi Elizabeth - I usually eat the yellow ones like a baked potato ... but they are good in stews - I don't think I've ever had them sweetened ... interesting to read though - cheers Hilary

    1. My family always ate them sweetened. I was never a fan as a kid. But then I had a baked sweet potato at Outback Steakhouse and it had the love at first bite. And I'm too lazy to bake my own, so I had to modify the recipe to something super easy.

  2. I enjoy baked sweet potatoes, but Matt doesn't like them. I also like sweet potato fries. I've never made those myself. Nor have I ever eaten a real Yam.

    1. I haven't tried the fries. I used to dislike sweet potatoes, but they grew on me.

    2. How come, didn't you wash for a while?

  3. in india we have the reddish brown sweet potatoes and not the orange one.

    And Yam is round ugly root used to make vegetables.
    Thanks for the recipe. It will keep me busy for the weekend.

    1. I never realized until I researched this post that I have never even seen a real yam in my entire life. I also didn't realize there were so many different kinds of sweet potatoes.

  4. I love, love, love sweet potatoes-fresh, not canned. I usually bake them or make baked fries. You have a great blog - a refreshing real housewives blog.


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