Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sweet Potatoes vs. Yams

Hello!  I hope everyone is having a great Sunday.  Mine is nice, starting with a ten mile run at 6:45 am with Lauretta.  Yep, we were up and at 'em very early this morning.  We started the run out slower than usual {at my request} until my Achilles warmed up, but we definitely picked it up throughout the run and finished in just over 1:19.  

There were a few miles after the turnaround point that just flew by...to the point where we had to look at our watches to make sure.  I guess that's what happens when running with good conversation! 

On to the post...It’s funny…the other day on Twitter, Sara Hall {American middle distance runner and wife of legendary marathoner Ryan Hall} tweeted that her quest continues to determine the difference between sweet potatoes and yams.  She also included this photo.  

I had to laugh because the exact same thing happened to me earlier in the week at the farmer’s market.  As I was browsing the isles looking for sweet potatoes, I couldn’t find them.  When I asked the nice, young man who was stocking the produce, he sent me over to the red yams.  Now...I have heard in the past that there is a definite difference between the two {this is me admitting that I watch too many hours of Food Network}.  I did question him but he was certain they were the same thing…so I didn’t argue, bought them, and off I went. 

That night, I started to peel the yams and to my surprise, the inside was white and not the orange color I expected to see.  So, here’s my question…what IS the difference between sweet potatoes and yams??

Based on some research…here’s the deal~

Sweet potatoes and yams are very different.  In fact, they aren’t even related because they come from two different species of root vegetables with varied backgrounds and uses. 

Sweet potatoes, which are natives of South America, have two main varieties that are available in the United States.  One has a yellow skin with white flesh (similar to a regular potato) and the other, more common variety, has a brownish outer skin with an orange-colored flesh.  All sweet potatoes have basically the same shape, which is rounded with tapered ends.  

Yams are native to more tropical regions such as Africa and Asia and they come in many varieties.  The most common yams are tubular in shape with rough outer skins.  Their flesh can range from white, to purple to red.  “Yam” is an African word that means “to eat” because it stores well for long periods of time, especially during the winter/wet season when food sources could be limited. 

Here is a nifty little chart that compares the two vegetables:

How do they compare nutritionally?

Use this link to find out more how sweet potatoes and yams stack up in terms of calories, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.  


Bottom line: sweet potatoes and yams are very different vegetables, however both are packed with vitamins and minerals that the body needs.  

Have a great Sunday!


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