So what's the difference between a yam and a sweet potato? The truth is that the term "yam" and "sweet potato" have become a little mingled. In fact, when I went to buy a box of them at Costco, the box said YAMS/SWEET POTATOES. I asked myself, "well, which one is it....a yam or a sweet potato?"
Well I did a little research and apparently we don't really have genuine yams in this country. What we are eating are just different variations of the sweet potato. In fact, did you know that yams and sweet potatoes aren't even botanically related. Go figure! Oh, and get this, yams are toxic if eaten raw, whereas sweet potatoes are perfectly safe...just a little FYI :)
Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires labels with the term ‘yam’ to be accompanied by the term ‘sweet potato.’ Unless you specifically search for yams, which are usually found in an international market, you are probably eating sweet potatoes! For the longest time I would call the one on the left a "yam" and the one on the right a "sweet potato" - the truth is that they are both sweet potatoes!
Anyway, since most of us will be coming across sweet potatoes either disguised as yams or labeled correctly, let’s direct our attention to the various properties of the different sweet potato varieties.
This is probably what most of you picture when you think of a sweet potato – light tan skin, slightly yellow interior. It’s creamy, almost like a Yukon gold potato, and slightly sweet.
Basic sweet potatoes are strong sources of beta-carotene, manganese, and copper.
Garnet, Jewel, Beauregard: these are the orange fleshed, reddish-brownish-orangish skinned sweet potatoes masquerading as yams. They’re even more common than the standard sweet potato, sweeter, and contain a bit more water.