Sweet Potatoes vs. Yam – What’s The Difference

There are different types of potatoes today, and due to this, there are other potato dishes available today. The different types of potatoes are ideal for various dishes; russet potatoes are known as au gratin potatoes. However, the shape and size of most potatoes make it hard to confuse for a yam. That’s not the case with sweet potatoes. They are two tubers that look similar in a grocery store, so most people confused one for the other. Most people have been eating the sweet potato most of their life and thinking it is yam. However, keep reading if you want to tell the difference between the two the next time you step into a grocery store.

What is a Yam?

You should first be aware that yams are also tuber vegetables; that’s where the confusion sets in. Most Yams come from Africa, but they’re also native to Asia. They come in different sizes but not as small as the au gratin potatoes. They are just as starchy and dry as sweet potatoes, but they grow pretty larger than a sweet potato. One difference between the yam and sweet potato is that it is cylindrical. Its flesh, however, varies from white to purple, yellow, or even pink. Yam skin is usually bark-like and comes in either a blackish or brown color.

Another difference lies in the taste; yams usually have a neutral taste. Sometimes, it is mildly sweet, but yams generally depend on the seasoning used in its preparation. You have to cook a yam before you can eat it. The leaves and stems are poisonous, so you always have to take them off. You can fry, boil or roast the yam flesh. You can also make it into a paste and several others.

Sweet Potatoes

Unlike the au gratin potatoes that also depend on seasoning, the sweet potatoes are pretty sweet. Sweet potatoes have an extended shelf life, and they come in different forms. There are different varieties of sweet potato, and it also comes in different colors like red, orange, yellow, white, and many more. The skin color varies and could be brown, white, purple, yellow, and many more. The sweet potato can either be firm or soft. They don’t depend on the seasoning as they are naturally sweet. You can eat sweet potatoes raw, and the leaves are not poisonous, unlike yams. You can enhance the sweet flavor of sweet potatoes through cooking. You can also boil, fry, or mash the sweet potatoes.