Yams are similar in flavor and appearance to the sweet
potato but they are not actually related to them in
any way. A true yam is the tuber of a tropical vine Dioscorea
batatas. Yams are sweeter and moister than sweet
potatoes, and can grow to up to seven feet in length,
weighing anywhere up to 150 pounds. In the US, a variety
of sweet potato is sold under the name "yam",
but true yams are very rare and generally only sold in
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They are common in the Caribbean, Latin America and
Africa. True yams are toxic in their raw state, but
cooking of any form removes the toxins and makes them
harmless. They're generally sold in chunks sealed in
plastic, and have a light-colored interior and dark skin.
They can be used in any sweet potato recipe.