You might've noticed the wide selection of potatoes at the grocery store as of late. There are actually more than 4,000 varieties of spuds, each with its own specific texture and taste.
If you're not sure what you're looking at, you probably skip the unfamiliar types -- their wonky shapes and strange names can be intimidating -- and stick to the standard russet, red, white and sweet potatoes. There's nothing wrong with that, but there's a world of potatoes out there that's totally worth discovering.
A little something you need to know before you read on: Sweet potatoes and yams are two different things, and you're most likely eating a sweet potato, even if it's labeled a yam by the grocery store. As the authors at The Kitchn put it, "A yam is probably not a yam." Yams are starchier and drier than potatoes; they have thick, bark-ish skin and aren't carried in most local markets.
So, are you ready for the shock of the century? Candied yams are actually candied sweet potatoes. Breathe. Everything's going to be OK.
To expand our potato knowledge even further, we spoke to Chris Romano, associate global produce coordinator at Whole Foods Market. Romano taught us about five different sweet potato varieties that you can cook and consume in multiple ways: Some are great roasted and others are perfectly crisp when sliced raw and tossed in a salad. You'll notice we labeled some of them "yams," despite the fact that they are sweet potatoes. This is because that's how they're found at the store -- but now you'll know better.
All photos by Damon Dahlen
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