You Say Sweet Potato, I Say Yam?
Contrary to popular opinion, sweet potatoes and yams are not the same—they’re not even the same species. When orange-fleshed sweet potatoes were introduced to the American market they were incorrectly called yams to differentiate them from more readily available, lighter-fleshed sweet potatoes. Compounding the confusion, you’ll find canned “yams” on your supermarket shelves. But they’re all sweet potatoes (“yam” is often accompanied by “sweet potato” on the label). Real yams can be found in Latin American markets, but do note that yams are not as high in vitamins A and C as sweet potatoes, though they are higher in potassium. And unlike sweet potatoes, yams must be cooked to destroy compounds that can make you ill if ingested.