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October 17, 2013 / theyellowbungalowla

when is a yam actually a sweet potato?


Lately I’ve had a particularly stubborn craving for sweet potatoes, and things have gotten a little “yammy” in the kitchen, hehehe.

To call any of these guys a yam, or make a (bad) joke about yams, would actually be incorrect. In the photo above, there are no yams. All of these bakers are sweet potatoes.


I’ve often been confused by the difference between sweet potatoes and yams, and recently learned that I’m not alone in my confusion. Basically all of America has been confused, and for a good, long time. The USDA even allows for incorrect labeling of sweet potatoes as yams in order to differentiate between the different varieties of sweet potatoes. The basic thing you need to know is that unless you’ve gone to an international market, ie a Latin or Caribbean or African market and specifically purchased a yam, you’ve probably been fooled (like me) and have simply been eating different varieties of sweet potatoes your whole life.

If you’re curious, there is a lot of chatter out on the web regarding the difference between yams and sweet potatoes, including this extremely informative (albeit not the most visually stunning) video.

Let’s get back to how my sweet potato cravings and kitchen adventures might lead to more delicious cooking and eating in your kitchen….

I did some shopping, then some baking, and then I went on to eating. I’ve been eating all of these sweet potatoes and for the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share a few recipes with you on how I used all of them. Sounds like a pretty good deal for both of us.

Last week, I featured one of my favorite autumn snacks: baked sweet potatoes with salty cinnamon butter. Today’s recipe is very similar in that it’s super easy: just bake a sweet potato and top it with something yummy. This week, however, I’m using a different variety of sweet potato that is lighter in color than the deep orange (often called yam) sweet potato I used last week. It’s still really sweet, soft and delicious.

Today’s recipe might take you a little by surprise, as it’s kind of unexpected. I topped this sweet potato with yogurt. Caramel yogurt.


Here in Canada, Liberte yogurt is king. My first introduction to Liberte came from my friend Amelia Winslow, one of my favorite eating buddies who also happens to write a really awesome blog. Until I met Amelia, my yogurt experiences were pretty limited. Sure, I ate yogurt for breakfast, liked tzatziki on my pitas, and was experimenting with Greek yogurt in my cooking. Amelia opened the doors to premium yogurt, and introduced me to brands like Stonyfield and the elusive Liberte, which is available in America but is a little harder to find.

After living here in Vancouver for the last few weeks, where I’ve been surrounded by delicious Liberte at every market and grocery store I walk into, I’ve admittedly become a little obsessed…so obsessed that I’m adding a dollop of yogurt to my baked sweet potato. Take a closer look and notice that it’s separated: there is actual caramel on the bottom of that container, and you have to stir it into the yogurt. Sticky-sweet caramel mixed with tangy, creamy yogurt…must I say more??!!

When I come back to California, I’m going to be on a serious mission to make Liberte and their numerous flavors more available in the good ‘ol United States. If you can’t find Liberte, tell your grocer that they should carry it! I’d recommend substituting Siggi’s coconut (maybe with a squeeze of lime!) or another high-end, higher fat (low fat and no fat do not apply in this case) yogurt like Strauss Creamery maple yogurt, which I often find in markets near the (original) bungalow in Los Angeles. And while I’m not a nutritionist like Amelia, I’m guessing that eating a vegetable as a snack, even if it’s topped with a little caramel yogurt, is still pretty good for you. At least that’s what I tell myself…

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