Sweet potatoes, popular in the South, are lighter skinned than yams and have yellow flesh. They are not really sweet. They have a dry, crumbly texture similar to a baking potato. A yam is a South American tuber first encountered in the 1600s. It is tropical grown, sweet and comes in brown or black skin. The flesh is bright orange and moist.

Normajean Davis, of Navarre, Ohio, writes: “I have a question I cannot get a sensible answer to. What is the difference between a yam and a sweet potato?”

Although the terms are used interchangeably, they are not related in nature.

Sweet potatoes, popular in the South, are lighter skinned than yams and have yellow flesh. They are not really sweet. They have a dry, crumbly texture similar to a baking potato.

A yam is a South American tuber first encountered in the 1600s. It is tropical grown, sweet and comes in brown or black skin. The flesh is bright orange and moist.

Sweet potatoes generally are more expensive than yams. Yams almost always are used in canning. They may be used in the same recipes, such as this one:

TATER PIE

1 1/2 cups cooked yams or sweet potatoes, puréed
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 unbaked deep-dish pie shell

Blend well all ingredients except the crust in a bowl or food processor. Pour into pie shell. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden brown. Serves 6 to 8.

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