Sweet potatoes vs. Yams comment December 13, 2007 12:45 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a comment (I think it was on AskMefi) that claimed that sweet potatoes and yams were the same thing. I think it was written by someone who used to work in a grocery store and stocked both from the same basket. Thanks.
posted by sperose to MetaFilter-Related at 12:45 PM (37 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Yes.
posted by dead_ at 12:47 PM on December 13, 2007


Is this your thread?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:47 PM on December 13, 2007


Oh you rock my world BitterOldPunk. Thanks a bunch!
posted by sperose at 12:48 PM on December 13, 2007


It's probably in here somewhere. If you're curious, here was my simple method for finding this.
posted by dead_ at 12:49 PM on December 13, 2007


AskMe--->Search--->"yams"
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:51 PM on December 13, 2007


Wait a minute: they aren't the same thing?
posted by chunking express at 12:51 PM on December 13, 2007


Depends. There is an actual thing called a "yam" which is not a sweet potato. But sweet potatoes are called yams in big parts of the USA. So it's hard to say without knowing the context.
posted by Justinian at 1:07 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Alan Davidson's Penguin Companion to Food says:

"Properly the name of an edible tuber of plants of the genus Dioscorea, 'yam' is often used in a general sense to embrace other tropical root crops such as sweet potato, taro, oca, etc. The wider usage is an inconvenience; all the more so since the genus Dioscorea itself comprises scores of species which are often difficult to distinguish from each other."

"Sweet potato Ipomoea batatas, the most important of the tropical root crops, is the starchy tuber of a vine of the convolvulus and morning glory family. It is not related to the ordinary potato, although both plants are of American origin."

Also, yarg is a full-cream cow's milk cheese from Cornwall. I just thought you'd want to know.
posted by languagehat at 1:09 PM on December 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


Sweet Potato: Yam :: Crimini : Portabella
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:09 PM on December 13, 2007


From BobbyDigital's first comment in that thread:
It is my understanding that yams are simply are variety of sweet potato that is from a specific region, like bourbon and Tennessee whiskey there isnt a real difference.
If there's anything that makes me madder than mad, it's a false assessment based on a false simile. Write this down: bourbon can be made anywhere. From StraightDope.com:
For a whiskey to qualify as bourbon, the law--by international agreement--stipulates that it must be made in the USA. It must be made from at least 51% and no more than 79% Indian corn, and aged for at least two years. (Most bourbon is aged for four years or more.) The barrels for aging can be made of any kind of new oak, charred on the inside. Nowadays all distillers use American White Oak, because it is porous enough to help the bourbon age well, but not so porous that it will allow barrels to leak. It must be distilled at no more than 160 proof (80% alcohol by volume). Nothing can be added at bottling to enhance flavor or sweetness or alter color. The other grains used to make bourbon, though not stipulated by law, are malted barley and either rye or wheat.
As an alcoholic social drinker, this is something that I hold near and dear to my heart and I shall not tolerate incorrect information about my heart medicine being tossed around. Bourbon is my Ron Paul.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 1:13 PM on December 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


Just don't spell it "yame".
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:17 PM on December 13, 2007


And don't link to a photo of a lady sticking one in her butt.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:24 PM on December 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


do we bust the popeye jokes now?

COLD BUST IT OH OH OH OH WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA EVERYTIME YOU SEE ME MY YAMMER IS OF HEIGHT, I'M DOPE ON THE TOUNGE AND MAGIC ON THE BITE DON'T TASE ME
posted by fishfucker at 1:26 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yams and sweet potatoes taste equally yucky.
posted by SteveTheRed at 1:46 PM on December 13, 2007


*shuns SteveTheRed*
posted by maudlin at 1:55 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


beaucoupkevin, the false simile there isn't about where bourbon's from, it's someone saying that it's the same as Tennessee Whiskey, which is a (slightly) different beast. Bourbon doesn't have to be made in a particualr region anymore, but only those that use the Lincoln County Process can properly be called a Tennessee Whiskey, and can't actually be called a Bourbon anymore...
posted by pupdog at 1:57 PM on December 13, 2007


That's some good shunning there, maudlin.
posted by Mister_A at 2:07 PM on December 13, 2007


Portabella : Portobello ?
posted by breaks the guidelines? at 2:26 PM on December 13, 2007


It tore my heart out to do it, Mister_A, what with my longtime fondness for redheads. But one must uphold standards, mustn't one?

Topic: sweet potatoes and Macintosh apples make a fantastic pie as long as you don't friggin' well mash the sweet potatoes and add *shudder* marshmallows. No wonder so many Americans hate sweet potatoes. I blame the Pilgrims.
posted by maudlin at 2:28 PM on December 13, 2007


Also, yams are very different from sweet potatoes in size, color, flavor, and texture. Yam tubers can grow several feet long and weigh over a hundred pounds.
posted by breaks the guidelines? at 2:28 PM on December 13, 2007


Which makes it all the more inconvenient that, as I said, sweet potatoes really, really, really are called "yams" in big swaths of the USA.
posted by Justinian at 2:33 PM on December 13, 2007


Yam tubers can grow several feet long and weigh over a hundred pounds.

That just gave me the chills. Damn.
posted by wafaa at 2:42 PM on December 13, 2007


Sweet Potato: Yam :: Crimini : Portabella

Did I tell you guys about the time the lady at the grocery store didn't know what a portabello mushroom was?
posted by Autarky at 2:55 PM on December 13, 2007


That was no lady.
posted by yhbc at 3:34 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yam tubers can grow several feet long and weigh over a hundred pounds.

Wait, this is up whose arse? Pix plz.
posted by meehawl at 4:18 PM on December 13, 2007


That was no lady.

That was your wife?


Growing up I was taught that real yams were African, and a lot bigger than a sweet potato. This led to lots of questions about 'Candied Yams' at Thanksgiving, which were neither candied NOR yams. This led me to an epiphany.

Early on, I learned that most people are lying to you...
posted by pupdog at 4:42 PM on December 13, 2007


And don't link to a photo of a lady sticking one in her butt.

Yes, don't link... but do memail, please.
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 5:40 PM on December 13, 2007


beaucoupkevin writes "Write this down: bourbon can be made anywhere."

beaucoupkevin writes "or a whiskey to qualify as bourbon, the law--by international agreement--stipulates that it must be made in the USA."

Eh?
posted by Bugbread at 6:01 PM on December 13, 2007


Anywhere that's anywhere, that is.
posted by breezeway at 6:31 PM on December 13, 2007


There are other countries?
posted by beaucoupkevin at 7:23 PM on December 13, 2007


You can read Harold McGee's entries on sweet potatoes and yams starting here on Google Books.
posted by trip and a half at 7:27 PM on December 13, 2007


yams are orange on the inside, dark brown on the outside. sweet potatoes are yellow on the inside and a lighter brown on the outside. sweet potatoes are slightly less dense, so they fluff easier under fork pressure after baking, and also seem to absorb melted butter, fleur de sel and sour cream+fresh chives+green tabasco better than yams. they're both good, but i like sweet potatoes better.
posted by bruce at 9:41 PM on December 13, 2007


Metafilter: Bourbon is my Ron Paul.
posted by lodurr at 6:30 AM on December 14, 2007


Yams have a lot of fiber in them and actually a fair amount of fat. Much more nutritional value than most true potatoes. And they make a much better bisque.

Start with two medium (six-inch or so) yams. Cut them up into fairly small pieces.
Cover with stock (best if it's home made chicken stock), add a little salt and black and red pepper to taste, and simmer until tender.
For extra flavor, or if you don't have good stock, add some onion and a couple of whole garlic cloves, but make sure you cook long enough that they are tender enough to puree.
Also, add a handful of apples for extra fall flavor.

When everything is nice and soft, take it off the heat and let it cool for a bit (just for safety -- you can use a water bath or just live dangerously if you like), then use a hand blender to puree the soup. Put it back on the heat before you serve.

Presents well with a touch of sour cream or mexican table cream.

In summer, I like to top this with a little chopped dill or mint (but not both).

You can substitute butternut squash or pumpkin for the yam for a subtle difference. Butternut loves sage and coriander, too.
posted by lodurr at 6:38 AM on December 14, 2007


Are we still talking about yams? Can't we talk about something more interesting, like tubers? Have you seen the new iTuber? I bet Apple is going to sell a billion of them!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:25 AM on December 14, 2007


I thought the big thing was the uTuber.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:07 PM on December 14, 2007


uTuber

I'm not gonna Tuber -- U Tuber.
posted by lodurr at 1:25 PM on December 14, 2007


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