As John Gerard suggested in 1597, a sweet potato “comforts, strengthens and nourishes the body”. Let’s talk sweet potato!
First off, yams and sweet potatoes are two different things. At most, we can consider them cousins. They’re related, but have different parents. Sweet potatoes are only called yams because of an old marketing ploy to differentiate the white-fleshed varieties from the orange-fleshed varieties.
Both yams and sweet potatoes come in hundreds, if not thousands, of varieties. Yams can be huge (they can grow up to 5 feet long). They are starchier, have rougher skin and the flesh is usually white. They originated from Africa.
Sweet potatoes are long and tapered with smooth skin in colors like yellow, orange, red, brown, purple or beige. Depending on the type, the flesh inside can range from white to orange or even purple. They originated from Central and South America.
When buying sweet potatoes at your local farmers market, choose ones that feel heavy for their size, have little blemishes and simply smell sweet and fresh.