Sweet Potatoes or Yams?

Sweet Potatoes

I just wanted to clear something up. With all the sweet potato and “yam” recipes circulating, it seemed like a good time for this post. Are you eating sweet potatoes or yams?

Well, if you live in North America, you are eating sweet potatoes. No matter what the produce department labels them, everything in the store is, botanically speaking, a sweet potato. Red, orange and yellow, big and small – all are sweet potatoes.

So where did the yam thing start? Well, many years ago the state of Louisiana had an abundant crop of sweet potatoes. They wanted to sell them in a competitive marketplace, so they decided to call them yams. Just a name change in an effort to give their product an edge over the competition. You’ll often still see them sold as Louisiana Yams. They aren’t yams, though. Louisiana Yams are, in fact, just sweet potatoes with a name change.

There are real yams- they are larger than sweet potatoes and quite starchy. They might be found at South American restaurants, or in specialty markets in the States, but they are NOT in your local grocery store.


A sweet potato by other name will taste as sweet.

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