As much as I love the Thanksgiving turkey and the Christmas ham, it’s usually all about the side dishes for me. One thing I have grown to love in the last year is the sweet potato. But have you ever been confused about the difference between a sweet potato and a yam, or have you wanted new ideas for your holiday side dish?
Although yams and sweet potatoes are both angiosperms (flowering plants), they are not related botanically. Yams are a monocot (a plant having one embryonic seed leaf) and from teh Dioscoreaceae or Yam family. Sweet potatoes, often called ‘yams’, are a dicot (a plant having two embryonic seed leaves) and are from the Convolvulacea or morning glory family.
In fact, after reading several things, I have learned that it is very rare to even find yams in the grocery store. If you are looking for a yam, you will most likely find them in a Carribean or Asian specialty store. I think the biggest reason for the confusion is that 1) the grocery stores call them yams when they are not, and 2) there are many different types of sweet potatoes, and the colors can vary, so not all sweet potatoes will look the same.No matter what you call them, I love them! And here are a few ways to prepare them that are sure to satisfy!
The Pioneer Woman’s Sweet Potatoes at Serious Eats
Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan Topping at Simply Recipes
Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes at 101 Cookbooks
Sweet Potato Bread Pudding at The Kitchn
Sweet Potato Biscuits with Bacon and Thyme at Pinch My Salt