Know Your Produce? Yams

Yams have become a staple of the fall and winter months along with many hearty root vegetables. It is no surprise since they are sweet, satisfying and filled with great nutrients! Something that surprised me when we first moved back to Idaho and buying from local farms were that they are not typically grown here in our valley. A local organic farm had been experimenting with growing them in the past few years on a small scale with a little success. Our weather and soil must not be quite right here, or perhaps it is the short growing season. Our friends to the west in Washington, Oregon and California all produce organic Yams year round.

So what is the difference between a Yam and Sweet Potato anyhow? Well, actually everything. They are completely unrelated species. However, in the US we tend to use the names somewhat interchangeably. We typically carry Garnet or Jewel Yams which can be used in any recipe that calls for sweet potatoes.

Yams are extremely versatile. Really, what can’t you make with Yams? They are cultivated all around the world and common in many types of cuisine. They can be steamed, baked, roasted, grilled, used in soup and stew and so much more. Read below for two very simple recipes. On our blog there are several other Yam recipes including Maple Grilled Root Vegetables and Slow Down Yam Chili. You can find these by clicking the Yam category or doing a search.

Yams also have a decent shelf life so stock up. They can easily be chopped and frozen for later use also. Some of our customers chop when their box arrives to make extra quick weeknight meals.


Crispy Yam Fries

sweet potato fries






This recipe is easy enough to make as a last minute side dish or for a quick meal or snack.


  • 2 sweet potatoes, about 1 lb, cleaned and partially peeled
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

For Savory: Sprinkle of paprika, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Finish with cilantro when cooling.

For Sweet: 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Combine and sprinkle.

Directions: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the yams in 1/2 inch thick slices. Rinse well with cold water and pat dry with a towel. Place the yams in a bowl, drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. This is where you can have some fun. Choose the suggestions for Savory or Sweet above or season as you like. Whatever your seasoning be sure to toss to coat evenly.

Place the yams in a single layer on a baking sheet. Be sure not to over crowd them. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes turning occasionally. When done remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Taste and add more seasoning as needed. Enjoy!

Yam Chips

sweet potato chipsIngredients:

2 organic sweet potatoes

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and position oven rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Rinse and dry your sweet potatoes thoroughly and slice them as uniformly thin as possible. If you have a mandolin, use it. Otherwise, use a very sharp knife to get these uniformly thin. Know that chips that are too thick in parts won’t crisp up all the way.
  3. Toss slices in a touch of olive oil to lightly coat, then sprinkle with salt. Lay out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 2 hours, flipping chips once at halfway point to ensure even cooking.
  4. Remove once crisp and golden brown. Some may feel a little tender in the middle but take them out and let them rest ten minutes to crisp up before sampling. Serve immediately.

About Rachel

Owner @ Brown Box Organics.
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One Response to Know Your Produce? Yams

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