Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a sweetpotato 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 SweetPotato Commission:
* Yams have rough, scaly outer skin that is difficult to peel while sweetpotatoes have thinner, smoother skin
* Yams must be cooked to be safely eaten while sweetpotatoes do not
* Yams are super sweet and have higher sugar content than sweetpotatoes
* Yams are low in beta-carotene, a plant compound that gives sweetpotatoes their orange color
* Yams are grown in tropical climates and are seldom available in U.S. markets while sweetpotatoes are grown right here in the United States – with North Carolina producing over half of the sweetpotatoes we enjoy today
Once sweetpotatoes are ready to be picked, each one is harvested by hand. Afterwards, they’re placed in storage to be “cured.” During this process, sweetpotatoes 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 sweetpotatoes can be stored until they’re ready to go to market.
When ready to enjoy, sweetpotatoes provide an impressive package of nutrition. One medium sweetpotato 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 sweetpotatoes to your weekly menus, simply use anywhere you’d use pumpkin, like in smoothies, muffins or in this satisfying recipe for No-Bake Sweetpotato Coconut Ginger Energy Bites.