Sweet Potato confusion

Discussion in 'Cooking & Spirits' started by 313guy, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. 313guy

    313guy Thankful Member Subscriber

    So I took 313gal's list to the grocery store yesterday. On it was "4 cups of sweet potatoes". In the produce was a huge display marked Yams on sale for 40 some cents per pound. On the boxes stacked nearby containing back stock were the words Yams and Sweet Potatoes. :headscrat I grabbed three of the larger tubers, which surely will equal more than 4c.

    As I continued through the produce department, I saw two more displays, though much smaller, with specific types of sweet potatoes. They were pricier, so I stuck with what was in my cart.

    This morning I got curious and went googling in hopes of learning something. Here is a quote from the Wiki article on sweet potatoes:

    Although the soft, orange sweet potato is often mislabeled a "yam" in parts of North America, the sweet potato is botanically very distinct from a genuine yam, which is native to Africa and Asia and belongs to the monocot family Dioscoreaceae. To prevent confusion, the United States Department of Agriculture requires sweet potatoes labeled as "yams" to also be labeled as "sweet potatoes".

    Well, that explains both names on the box. But double labeling to avoid confusion?

    Are real yams even imported? Wonder if any husbands sent shopping with sweet potatoes on the list came home without 'cuz all they had were yams.:scratch2:
  2. spaceman

    spaceman Registered Lunatic

    It's part of a crazy master plan, designed to drive us crazy. :banana: :D I like those orange dudes quite a bit, but what I like even more, is the white-ish colored sweet potatoes. Yep, they look like a "normal" potato inside, but they taste even sweeter than the orange yam-type sweet potatoes. :yes: Now, are you confusier? :D
  3. 313guy

    313guy Thankful Member Subscriber

    And it fits that you are part of it!:thmbsp:

    The white variant is what the more expensive ones were, that and what looked more red or even purple. Since they were for a recipe, I opted for the more generic approach...pseudo yams.:yes:
  4. John James

    John James "Bob's your uncle" (Stolen) Subscriber

    You two are both wrong. This is a "Sweet Potato"....

    Attached Files:

  5. JohnMac

    JohnMac AK Subscriber Subscriber

    "I yam what I yam" - Popeye

    That probably doesn't help. :no:
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2012
  6. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Addicted Member

    At some point, it would seem reasonable to let go of the technicality. There's a festival in east Texas that has called itself the "Yamboree" since 1935, a name they chose because the so-called yam (sweet potato) was the major cash crop in the area.
  7. rnorton

    rnorton Super Member

    Yeah, they're imported in small numbers but they're close to flavorless. Sweet potatoes can always be substituted in recipes and will always taste better.
  8. rnorton

    rnorton Super Member

    If you call sweet potatoes 'yams', what would you call yams? They're not even related.
  9. botrytis

    botrytis Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

  10. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    If you think that's bad, read the label on a can of pumpkin pie filling. The last one I saw was made out of banana squash with pumpkin flavoring added.:scratch2:
  11. botrytis

    botrytis Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    Pumpkin is a squash of sorts - a winter squash. The pumpkins in the field and jack-o-lantern type pumpkins are usually not used for pie.
  12. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    Isn't that what I said? Pumpkins generally aren't used for pumpkin pie filling.
  13. JohnMac

    JohnMac AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I'm not a farmer but I manage a fall festival for one. What we sell as a pie pumpkin is a small, squatty, thick walled pumpkin. It is darker than a typical jack-o-lantern or "carver". In appearance, it is much more like a pumpkin than what we call winter squash. Trying to pass banana squash off for pumpkin pie would be a hard sell. As botrytis stated, they are all closely related.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2012
  14. Robinhawaii

    Robinhawaii Super Member

    Slaves would call sweet potatoes yams due to it being similar to the familiar yam root from Africa. Some specialty stores carry true yams if you are in the mood to make Fufu.


  15. Robinhawaii

    Robinhawaii Super Member

    Golden Hubbard Squash are used by Mrs. Smith's Pies to make "pumkin Pies".


  16. JohnMac

    JohnMac AK Subscriber Subscriber

    That might pass. They aren't overly sweet and have a similar texture and color. After that, it's all about the spices.
  17. Arkay

    Arkay Lunatic Member

    I think this idea that pumpkin isn't used for pumpkin pie is absolutely ridiculous. It probably isn't used in those ready-made frozen IMITATION pumpkin pies, but traditional pumpkin pie WAS made from real pumpkins, not from squash. Both the bulk of its color and important components of its taste derived from the pumpkin content. Our great-grandmothers used fresh pumpkin to make their pumpkin pies. My mother made them both ways: with fresh pumpkin, and with canned pumpkin. The latter was made with real pumpkin as the overwhelming ingredient, back then (no other squashes or other fillers were added).

    As with most things, though, modern manufacturers have sought ways to imitate foods with cheaper components, in the pursuit of profit. Most soy sauce now has more wheat than soy in it. Ice cream is often made from a long list of chemicals, with little or none of the original cream (or eggs or other natural ingredients, except perhaps sugar --and even that is often replaced today by other sweeteners). Now they've hit the pumpkin pie filling, too. They've even done similar dis-services to fruits like bananas and apples and tomatoes, creating versions that are easier to store for longer and ship longer distances without spoilage, and which often look larger and shinier, but which have lost most of the taste and much of the nutritional value of the originals. Milk, too, is no longer available unless you live near to the farmer; now it's a processed "milk drink" or "milk product". Chemically-flavored sugar waters with minimal fruit components are passed off as fruit juices. The list goes on and on.

    It's sad. Poorer nutrition, terrible adverse effects on health, less value-for-money.

    If you want a pumpkin pie, go get an appropriate pumpkin (and yes, the smaller, thicker-walled ones are better for cooking than the carving types) and try a REAL pumpkin pie. You might be surprised at the texture and taste - it beats the imitations, hands down!
  18. gogofast

    gogofast AK Subscriber Subscriber

    yams and sweet potatoes are good for you. i just eat 'em all. doesn't hurt getting as much fiber as you can as you get older. :D i like japanese sweet potatoes - they almost taste like chestnuts.
  19. gadget73

    gadget73 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I had sweet potatoes today with lunch. Good stuff. When I was a kid, I didnt like them but I love them now. They are also good as french fries or potato chips. Mashed sweet potatoes with butter and some brown sugar are simply amazing.

    Oddly enough, mashed turnips are fairly similar in taste to potatoes, though probably closer to regular potatoes than sweet. They can be served mashed with a little butter and salt, or gravy if you like and its actually hard to tell they aren't regular mashed potatoes.
  20. eteller

    eteller AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I don't eat either, anything orange is not natural and is bad for you!:D
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012

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