Yams – Louisiana Sweet Potatoes
Fall is here and bushels of local Louisiana sweet potatoes are piled high at groceries and markets across the state.
According to My Rouses Everyday, Louisiana sweet potatoes are unique.
“There’s a difference between sweet potatoes grown in northern states and those grown locally. Our sweet potatoes are ‘soft,’ which means they are higher in natural sugar, more moist and have a bright orange flesh color. This ‘soft’ type of sweet potato is often referred to as a yam.” – My Rouses Everyday, November / December 2013, page 45
Where Did the Name Yam Come From?
The Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission takes the mystery out of that question. According to their website, true yams are from the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Yams contain more starch and less sugar than sweet potatoes, and they must be cooked before eaten.
African slaves in the South called the sweet potato “nyami” because it reminded them of the starchy, edible tuber of that name that grew in their homeland. The Senegalese word “nyami” was eventually shortened to “yam.”
“Yam” also refers to sweet potatoes that are grown in Louisiana. When the orange-fleshed, Puerto Rican variety of sweet potatoes was adopted by Louisiana producers and shippers, they called them “yams” to distinguish them from the white-fleshed sweet potatoes grown in other parts of the country. The yam reference became the trademark for Louisiana-grown sweet potatoes.
Simply Delicious – Simple to Prepare, Delicious on the Palate
There’s nothing simpler than baking sweet potatoes. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Carefully wash and scrub the potatoes, and place them in a large baking dish. There is no need to add oil, butter or salt (like you would for a white baking potato). There is also no need to prick sweet potatoes. Just place them whole in the oven at 400 for 30 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, reduce the heat to 375 and bake for another 45 minutes, or until tender.
When it’s soft, it’s done.
Slice them open lengthwise, sprinkle with a little salt and add a pat or two of butter. Serve piping hot and enjoy!
Baked sweet potatoes make a great side, and they always accompany our Thanksgiving dinner. But, at random times in the fall, we will bake sweet potatoes and make a meal out of them, maybe serving a salad on the side.
- Louisiana Sweet Potatoes, whole and thoroughly cleaned
- Salt to taste
- Butter to taste
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Carefully wash and scrub the potatoes, and place them in a large baking dish. There is no need to add oil, butter or salt (like you would for a white baking potato). There is also no need to prick sweet potatoes.
- Place them whole in the pre-heated oven at 400 for 30 minutes.
- At the 30 minute mark, reduce the heat to 375 and bake for another 45 minutes, or until tender.
- When it's soft, it's done.
- Slice them open lengthwise, sprinkle with a little salt and add a pat or two of butter. Serve piping hot and enjoy!