What’s the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?

Honestly, it depends on who you ask…

Although orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (Morning glory family Convolvulaceae) have traditionally been referred to as yams in parts of the United States and Canada, they are not part of the same family as True Yams and therefore they are not really yams. True yams (Dioscoreaceae family) are cultivated in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Oceania and not traditionally in the United Stated or Canada.

We are now slowly transitioning all our packaging and labels from “yams and sweet potatoes” to just “sweet potatoes”.

 Below are 5 different types of sweet potatoes that we grow and offer to our customers:

white

Sweets/O’Henry/DS White/Bonita

Yellow to cream-colored flesh and drier than the orange fleshed varieties, with a mild, nutty taste. They make excellent alternatives to standard Irish potatoes. Perfect in casseroles and side dishes, or simply baked, and can be a nice change of pace in recipes that traditionally call for white potatoes. Varieties include O’Henry, DS White and Bonita.

purple

Oriental/Murasaki Sweet Potatoes

Dark purple outside and a creamy white inside. This sweet potato is known as either an Oriental or Japanese Sweet and has a full, nutty flavor. They are an exotic alternative to traditional sweet potatoes, and an eye-opening alternative to Irish potatoes.

orange

Covington/Jewel
Beauregard Sweet Potatoes

Bright orange flesh, copper-colored skin, moist and sweet to taste. They are excellent for baking, roasting or in casseroles. When consumers think of a yam, they think of the Beauregard.

red

Diane/Garnet Sweet Potatoes

Extra-moist and flavorful, with orange insides and a red-copper to plum-colored skin. Red yam varieties include the Diane, Maryland Red and Garnet.

StokesAVT2

Purple/Stokes Purple

Dark, vivid purple skin and vibrant purple flesh. This is a relatively new and unique variety that is grown and sold exclusively in California by A.V. Thomas Produce. It is most similar to the oriental sweet potato characteristics in that it is very nutty and sweet and dryer than orange flesh varieties. It can also be used as an exotic alternative in any recipe that calls for regular potatoes.