Sweet potatoes and yams are more or less interchangeable to me. I know they are different, but they are close enough for me that those subtle differences don’t really matter much to me. Sweet potatoes, as mentioned in their name, tend to be sweeter than yams, whereas yams tend to be more starchy and dry Yam are firmer than sweet potatoes, which are softer. But I am not alone in using these two tuber, root vegetables as the same thing. Most people, and most stores actually, call sweet potatoes “yams”. Sweet potatoes were first referred to as yams by the African slaves who had already been calling the ‘soft’ sweet potatoes ‘yams’ because they resembled the yams in Africa. Thus, ‘soft’ sweet potatoes were referred to as ‘yams’ to distinguish them from the ‘firm’ varieties.
A true yam is a starchy edible root of the Dioscorea genus, and is generally imported to America from the Caribbean. It is rough and scaly and very low in beta carotene. Over 50% of the sweet potatoes found in the United States are grown in North Carolina. Yams are grown all over the world , although 95% are still grown in West Africa.
Whether you call them “yams” or sweet potatoes, it doesn’t really matter. All I know is both are very tasty and very nutritious. I love them both. I made some sweet potato steak fries to go along with our fried chicken and Southern Succotash that were a big hit. Some Southern Succotash They were all great Southern flavors that went together very well.
Roasted Sweet Potato Steak Fries
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thick strips
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP maple syrup
1 tsp dried ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
a little fresh ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375* F or 190* C.
Mix all the ingredients together then toss the sweet potato strips into the mixture, making sure to thoroughly coat the fries.
Spread the fries onto a baking dish in a single layer and roast for about 30 minutes. Add a little parsley on top when they are done, and enjoy them while they’re hot.
Stay safe and stay well Everyone, and for those of you in the current ice belt, stay warm too. LOTS and LOTS of layers. ‘Til next time.