While yams appear very similar to sweet potatoes, they're quite different. In fact, they're not even related. Yams belong to the Dioscoreae or morning glory family, while sweet potatoes are from the genus Convolvulaceae. Yams (from the African word "nyami," meaning "to eat") have only one embryonic seed leaf, while sweet potatoes have two.Yams are grown throughout Africa, but Nigeria is the world’s most prolific producer, exporting to 70% of the world market. Close to 200 species of yams are eaten worldwide, but other than those found wrapped individually in supermarkets, they aren't easily found on American produce shelves. Popular varieties include Hawaiian yam, Korean yam, and sweet yam.
Myth-Yams can be eaten raw!
Truth-Raw yam tubers carry toxic alkaloids and should be peeled and cooked before consumption.
Yam Fun Fact
Yams are thought to have originated in Asia, carried to Africa around the first century before being transported to the Caribbean with the slave trade.