Taste

Yes, White Sweet Potatoes Exist. Here's What They Are.

Time to get it straight!
03/09/2016 03:18pm ET

Ah, the white sweet potato. Not to be confused with orange sweet potatoes or yams. If you're one of the many people who are confused by this veggie, we're here to set the record straight.

So, what's the difference between white and orange sweet potatoes?

First, let's back up. Sweet potatoes come in many different colors. The skin can be white, yellow, red, purple or brown, and the flesh can be white, yellow, orange or purple. However, in the United States, there are two main varieties of sweet potato: One has a golden skin with creamy white flesh and a crumbly texture. The other has a copper skin with an orange flesh that is sweet and soft (this is the kind you're probably used to eating). All sweet potato varieties generally have the same shape and size -- they are tapered at the ends and much smaller than yams.

Davies and Starr via Getty Images
White sweet potato (left), Orange sweet potato (right)

White sweet potato (left), orange sweet potato (right)

So, which sweet potato is the healthiest?

According to an article on Livestrong.com, "the purple varieties contain the most antioxidants, and the white-fleshed varieties contain the least of these beneficial nutrients." But since purple sweet potatoes are hard to track down in the States, between the white and orange sweet potatoes, the orange sweet potato wins out. "Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes contain more beta-carotene, which your body can turn into vitamin A."

And where do yams come in?

Yams (often mislabeled as sweet potatoes in the grocery store) are a starchy, dry vegetable that originated in Africa and Asia."Yams are starchy tubers that have an almost black bark-like skin and white, purple or reddish flesh and come in many varieties. The tubers can be as small as regular potatoes or grow upwards of five feet long," AOL explained.

Joy Skipper via Getty Images

Still confused? The video below will make everything more clear.

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