Recipes Past & Present – Yam vs. Sweet Potato – June 11, 2021

Yup, there’s a lot of confusion about this. First, the skin of a Real Yam (a starchy edible root) is bumpy, tough and brown, kinda looks like tree bark, while that of a sweet potato is more reddish brown. Depending on the variety, sweetpotato flesh can vary from white to orange and even purple. The orange-fleshed variety was introduced to the United States several decades ago. A true yam is the starchy root of the Dioscorea genus, and is generally imported to North America from the Caribbean for use in Caribbean or West African cooking. It is rough and scaly and very low in beta carotene. 

Still confused? Here’s a little quiz* from the North Carolina Sweetpotato Commission (NCSC) to help clarify the matter:

  1. I am a tuberous root with sweet, moist flesh.
  2. I am originally from Africa and seldom sold in North American markets.
  3. My skin can range from thin and pale to dark and thick.
  4. I can be toxic when eaten raw, but perfectly safe when cooked.
  5. I have rough skin that is difficult to peel and can even be hairy, but it softens when baked.
  6. My flesh can be purple.
  7. I have an oblong body with tapered end.

See the answers at the end of the article.



  • 2 large sweetpotato
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup alfalfa sprouts and guacamole for toppings
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper


  1. Slice sweetpotato into ¼” thick slices, pat dry
  2. Toast slices in toaster oven or toaster for about 10 minutes, repeat if necessary, until golden and tender
  3. Meanwhile in saucepan set over medium heat, pour in enough water to come three inches (3”) up the side; add vinegar and bring to simmer over medium-high heat
  4. Crack eggs into small dish; slide, one at a time, into simmering water. Cook 3-4 minutes or until desired doneness. Remove with slotted spoon; blot on paper towels.
  5. Top sweetpotato toasts with guacamole, alfalfa sprouts and poached eggs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  6. Serve with Sriracha sweet chili sauce or hot sauce if desired.


1 Both; 2 Yam; 3 Sweetpotato; 4 Yam; 5. Yam; 6 Both; 7 Sweetpotato

Do you have a favourite recipe, perhaps something your Daddy always cooked up? Send it on in to the Lumby Valley Times and it’ll get printed in time for Father’s Day (June 20th). Matter of fact, wouldn’t it be great if we had a whole page of “Father’s Favourites” for their special day. Send the recipes to: Still time to mail them in, Box 456, Lumby V0E 2G0

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