Yam, sweet potato … what’s the difference? True yams are dry, starchy tubers from Africa; you’ll rarely find them here. Commonly mislabeled garnet or jewel yams are, in fact, sweet potatoes; they have tapered ends, reddish skin, and moist, sweet, orange or sometimes purple flesh. Those with tan, pale flesh tend to be less sweet and more dry. Sweet potatoes offer highly bioavailable beta-carotene and anti-inflammatory vitamin C.
Choose firm ones and store loosely; keep cool but don’t refrigerate. To cook, pierce well; microwave on high for 5–8 minutes, turning once, or bake on foil at 400 degrees for 40–60 minutes. Or steam cubes over boiling water for about 7 minutes until tender throughout. Eat skin and all; include a little fat to maximize nutrient absorption.
Breakfast. Whip cooked sweet potato flesh with ripe banana, raisins, and a little fresh orange juice; top with walnuts and cinnamon.
Chips or “fries.” Slice thinly or into wedges; toss with olive oil, garlic salt, and crushed rosemary (or any dried herbs). Roast at 375 degrees in a single layer for 30 minutes, turning once.
Shake. Blend cooked sweet potato flesh with milk, vanilla yogurt, honey or maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice) for a delectable beverage.