Do you know the difference between a yam and a sweet potato? It is quite possible that you have never actually tasted a yam. Yams are mostly grown in the Caribbean and not often sold in the U.S. Instead, we have different varieties of sweet potatoes with flesh ranging from orange to white, and even purple.
When the orange-fleshed sweet potato was introduced in America, producers decided to call them yams to distinguish them from the already familiar white-fleshed sweet potato. Even though they are really a variety of sweet potato, those with orange flesh are often labeled yams at the grocery store. It is safe to assume that you are always purchasing a sweet potato in most grocery stores because sweet potatoes are grown commercially in the U.S. If you are looking for a true yam, you might try visiting an international food store that carries foods from tropical countries.
Regardless of how it is labeled at the grocery store, the orange-fleshed sweet potato is loaded with beta-carotene, also referred to as vitamin A. The most recent Dietary Guidelines recommend we consume more dark orange vegetables for that very reason; many of us need more vitamin A. Additionally, sweet potatoes are high in vitamins C and B6, potassium, and fiber.
Sweet potatoes are a common side dish with meals during the holiday season. The first thing that might come to mind are recipes calling for sugar and marshmallows. However, there are many other ways to prepare sweet potatoes to add variety and extra nutrients to your meal.
You can serve them mashed! Best Ever Mashed Sweet Potatoes truly live up to their name. This recipe has been one of my favorites for a few years now. It’s simple to make, with just the perfect amount of sweetness. A pinch of black pepper is the perfect contrast to the sweet maple syrup.
You can make tots! With just a few ingredients you can make Sweet Potato Tots. The slight sweetness of a sweet potato pairs well with Parmesan cheese.
You can bake them! Substitute your regular baked potato with a baked sweet potato. Served with or without sour cream and butter it makes a nutrient-dense and filling side dish.
You can make chips! Salt and vinegar chips are one of my guilty pleasures. Using sweet potatoes and baking instead of frying is a more healthy option. It makes for a crunchy and delicious snack.
You can make stew! Black beans and sweet potatoes may not be the first food combination that comes to mind, but give it a try and let your tastebuds decide. The cumin, chili powder, and garlic add a tangy flair to the sweet potatoes.
Branch out and try a new recipe this week. Report back and let me know once you have discovered your favorite. Enjoy!