It’s count down time to Thanksgiving as we all know. It’s also that time of year when the great Yam vs. Sweet Potato debate surfaces once again as folks scurry to candy, bake, broil, puree and mash these spuds into every side dish known to man. So, lets put the debate to rest once and for all, shall we?
Even if the grocery store has a sign that says “Yams” over something that looks like what you see on the left below, it is not a Yam, it is a sweet potato. Will the real Yam please stand up? Ah, yes, its the fellow on the right.
Here is more information then you ever wanted to know from WiseGeek.com about how Sweet Potatoes and what we know as “Yams” came to be. “The issue with yams, sweet potatoes, and potatoes began when sweet potatoes were first brought to Europe, and called potatoes. When true potatoes entered Europe, Europeans realized that they were entirely different plants, and they created a retronym, “sweet potato” to describe the plants they previously called potatoes. The trend of referring to some sweet potatoes as “yams” emerged in the American South, where growers started referring to soft-fleshed sweet potatoes as yams to differentiate them from the firmer, less sweet varieties grown in the North.”
It is really not our fault that we are so confused by all this. The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that the label “yam” always be accompanied by “sweetpotato.” So even they can’t make up their minds. Shocking, I know. I think it is fair to say that most of us have never even tasted a real Yam which are native to Africa and Asia. I know I never have. It seems we have adopted the name in this country and it is not going away any time soon. And so be it. It’s just a pet peeve of mine, so now I feel so much better. Thank you for allowing me to get up on my big box of Sweet Potatoes and lecture you.
So call them what you will, Yam or Sweet Potato, they’re still delicious. And, speaking of delicious, here is a great recipe from Delicious Orchards just in time for the holidays.
3 large Sweet Potatoes
3/4 cup cider
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
In a saucepan cook 3 large Sweet Potatoes in water to cover for 25-30
minutes, or until almost tender. Peel the potatoes and halve them
lengthwise. In another saucepan combine 3/4 cup cider with
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar and 2 tablespoons
butter. Bring the liquid just to the boiling point and simmer for
10 minutes. Arrange the potatoes in a buttered baking dish. Pour the syrup over them and bake in a preheated moderately hot oven at 375 degrees. Spoon the syrup over them 3 to 4 times for 45 minutes. In a small dish mix 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar with 1 tablespoon each of butter and flour and sprinkle he mixture over the potatoes. Increase heat to 400 degrees and bake, basting them frequently for 15 minutes more.
Makes 6 servings.
3 sweet potatoes approximately 5 X 2 = 1 pound
1/2 pound sweet potatoes = 2 cups grated
1 pound sweet potatoes = 1-1 1/2 cups pureed
The Country Food Market
Colts Neck NJ 07722