What's the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?

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  • 10 years ago
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    Although yams and sweet potatoes are both angiosperms (flowering plants), they are not related botanically.

    Yams

    Yams are closely related to lilies and grasses. Native to Africa and Asia, yams vary in size from that of a small potato to a record 130 pounds (as of 1999).

    Sweet Potatoes

    The many varieties of sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are members of the morning glory family, Convolvulacea.

    In the United States, firm varieties of sweet potatoes were produced before soft varieties. Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires labels with the term ‘yam’ to be accompanied by the term ‘sweet potato.’

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  • 10 years ago

    Definitely not the same thing, but they are similar, and in a pinch can be used interchangeably, but I hate to use yams for sweet potatoes, in that their consistency is much more stringy and dry. On the other hand, a sweet potato will break down and mush up much quicker than a yam will, which is why yams are better for candying or frying

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  • 10 years ago

    A yam (genus dioscorea) is a tuber grown in many equatorial countries, especially in Africa. A yam is larger and MUST be cooked to be safely eaten. In North America sweet potato's are often called yams but they are not related to the dioscorea family. A sweet potato (genus ipomoea) is a common tuber grown in the Southern US and S. America and used in their cooking. Other than being tubers they are pretty different, we in North America do not eat yams as they are quite labor intensive to prepare.

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  • They are the same thing like calling an apple a granny smith.. but who wants to eat a yam? I want to eat a sweet potatoes.

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  • 10 years ago

    Same thing. Sweet potatoes sound like they taste better.

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