In the last post we cleared up the difference between a sweet potato and a sweetpotato (varieties, and method of growing)…but what about yams?  Aren’t they just a variety of sweet potato?  Alas, it cannot be that easy (why?!).  Here’s a word from the California Sweetpotato Council to explain what’s going on there:

Sweetpotatoes are sweet and moist, while yams are dry and starchy and not readily available in the U.S. Part of the confusion comes from the fact that there are varieties of sweetpotatoes called yams. Sweetpotatoes with orange interiors have a higher beta-carotene content than true yams. Sweetpotatoes are grown in the United States, while yams are imported from the Caribbean. (The scientific name of sweetpotato is Ipomoea batatas and it’s a member of the morning glory family. A yam on the other hand belongs to the Yam plant family.)”

So – in case you missed it – there is a variety of sweet potato called yams, but they aren’t really yams.  If nothing else, suffice it to say that when you buy anything called a yam or a sweet potato in the grocery store – it’s actually just a sweet potato.  If you’re lucky, you’ll have an option between a couple varieties, and maybe even a California Sweetpotato or two.

Regardless, and without further adieu, below is my second recipe (for entry to the CA Sweetpotato Council-sponsored RecipeRedux contest!*)  It’s a sweetpotato sage tart with parmesan and butter – perfect for entertaining this fall!




  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • ~1/4-1/3 c cold water


  • 2 large sweet potatoes (of different varieties if possible; I used O’Henry and Diane)
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped sage
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated

Blend salt, pepper and flour in a mixing bowl or food processor.  Cut in butter (or use dough function on a blender or food processor) until the size of small peas, then drizzle in water while stirring, until the dough reaches the right consistency.  (You could also cheat and use a pre-made crust, but those aren’t usually whole grain!) Roll into a circle and place in a pie pan.  Use a mandolin to thinly slice the potatoes.  Layer them into the crust, alternating colors, and sprinkling pats of thinly-sliced butter, spoonfuls of parmesan, and sage (I did my layers: orange, white, 2 pats butter, spoonful parmesan, bit of sage, repeat) until the potatoes are gone.  Fold the crust sides over (it’s ok if they’re uneven!  It’s just rustic!) and bake at 375F for 45 minutes (place tinfoil over the top for the first 20, then remove for the last 25).  Cool until set and serve.  Serves 8.

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*I received free samples of California sweetpotatoes mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Sweetpotato Council and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

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