How well do you know sweet potatoes?
Living Well Eating Smart: How well do you know sweet potatoes?
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a sweet potato and yam? Turns out, quite a bit! While the names of these veggies often get mixed up (and are even used together on packaging), they really are pretty different. And interestingly, most of us have never even eaten a true yam! Here are a few ways they differ, thanks to information from the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission:
* Yams have rough, scaly outer skin that is difficult to peel while sweet potatoes have thinner, smoother skin
* Yams must be cooked to be safely eaten while sweet potatoes do not
* Yams are super sweet and have higher sugar content than sweet potatoes
* Yams are low in beta-carotene, a plant compound that gives sweet potatoes their orange color
* Yams are grown in tropical climates and are seldom available in U.S. markets while sweet potatoes are grown right here in the United States – with North Carolina producing over half of the sweet potatoes we enjoy today
Once sweet potatoes are ready to be picked, each one is harvested by hand. Afterwards, they’re placed in storage to be “cured.” During this process, sweet potatoes are exposed to higher levels of humidity and temperature, which breaks down starches to pull out the sweetness we know and love. Then, temperatures are dropped so the sweet potatoes can be stored until they’re ready to go to market.
When ready to enjoy, sweet potatoes provide an impressive package of nutrition. One medium sweet potato delivers 4 grams fiber, 120% the Daily Value for vitamin A and 30% the Daily Value for vitamin C – all for 100 calories! To add more sweet potatoes to your weekly menus, simply use anywhere you’d use pumpkin, like in smoothies, muffins or in this satisfying recipe for No-Bake Sweet Potato Coconut Ginger Energy Bites.