Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Jewel vs. Garnet yam

with 13 comments

Update: See the section below on purple potatoes. /update

The jewel yam seems to cook oranger than the garnet, but I have trouble telling them apart. I think I’ve figured it out, though: the garnet yam has a reddish skin and tends to be thicker and rounder—sort of more corpulent—and the jewel has brown (sort of light brown) skin and is longer and skinnier.

Safeway labels yams as “red skins” and (no label), so I got no help there, and the produce person didn’t know any more than the sign said. However, there were some organic yams with identifying labels that claimed they were jewel yams, and based on the appearance of those, I figured that the (no label) yams were also jewel yams. When I was checking out, the checker—a woman of a certain age—looked as though she might know, so I asked whether the yam I had was a jewel yam. “Nope,” she said, “that’s a garnet yam.”

I was pretty sure it was a jewel—by then I thought I had the difference figured out—so I asked, “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” she said. “Because when I key in the code, ‘garnet” comes up.” Of course, she was keying in the code from memory—the yam wasn’t labeled—so that had a certain circular quality.

Back home, a little looking through Google images helped make me feel more certain that I had purchased a jewel yam.

The challenges one faces!

I blogged earlier this photo from Zoë Bakes:

The caption reads:

From top: Camote (sweet potato), Purple “ube” Asian Yam, Sweet Asian Yam, Yampi Yampi, Jewel “yam” (sweet potato), Sweet Potato, Garnet “yam” (sweet potato). In order to taste all of the varieties on an equal playing field we baked them.

And this is the result when roasted:

Zoë Bakes notes:

Here is the flesh of the sweet potatoes. Both Ochen and I thought that the Jewel “yam” was the sweetest, then the Garnet “yam”, the Camote and finally the sweet potato was the least sweet of the bunch.

So now I always buy Jewel “yams” and skip the Garnets. Those are the only two varieties on offer in the grocery stores here.

Purple potatoes

I have recently begun eating purple potatoes. The variety I find in my local Whole Foods is Stokes Purple®, but there are others: Purple Majesty, China Purple, Adirondack Blue, All Blue, Magic Molly, and others. They are delicious and also particularly nutritious — much more nutritious than white or yellow potatoes.

I usually roast them and then refrigerate them before I eat them; chilling starches (potatoes, rice, etc.) after cooking makes the starch resistant and not so quickly digested, increasing the period of satiation so you end up eating less. Smaller Stokes Purple potatoes are long and skinny, and once they’ve been cooked and chilled, they eat very like a banana: soft, seedless, and sweet.

You can even ferment diced raw potatoes (which are loaded with resistant starch) to use in salads, as a snack, and so on.

Bourbon Sweet Potatoes (aka Bourbon Yams): A particularly good sweet-potato recipe

Check out the recipe in this post. Delicious. The most recent time I made the recipe, I did make it with purple potatoes. It was great. Here’s what they looked like before dotting with butter and sprinkling with chopped walnuts.

A dish of mashed potatoes, a vivid purple in color.

Written by Leisureguy

13 August 2012 at 4:48 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

13 Responses

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  1. Try roasting some okra! As long as you’re going for the tropical south, it is a natural. Just oil it lightly, salt with coarse sea salt, and put on a buttered sheet of foil on a baking sheet/biscuit pan. I put it in the middle of the oven at 400-450 broil, with door shut.

    Older, tougher okra is ok if sliced thinly and cooked covered by canned tomatoes with their juices. I also add in a can of whole kernel corn, with its juice. Frozen non-breaded okra slices work, too. It is succotash with little work. I usually butter-fry some onions till browned a little, then dump in the other three ingredients to simmer for a while, till okra is tender.

    As far as sweet taters go, I’ve enjoyed all I’ve tasted. Haven’t had those in top right and bottom right corners. Yet.


    bill bush

    13 August 2012 at 5:55 pm

  2. OK….this is an AWESOME POST! seriously…I get so confused what is what.


    Mr. Fed Up

    13 August 2012 at 6:50 pm

  3. Thanks for this, sure came in handy!



    13 January 2014 at 12:36 am

  4. Thanks. I found several sites that verbally described the differences and showed photos of the uncooked, uncut potato but I was still unsure which was which. Your photo of the cut, cooked potatoes side-by-side, clearly labeled, resolved all confusion. I’ve always known I like the dark orange flesh the best but stores always get them mixed up. Now I know that my favorite is the Jewel, followed by the Garnet.



    10 October 2018 at 1:51 pm

  5. The store here has purple yams, and I had one. Quite good.



    10 October 2018 at 3:08 pm

  6. I prefer the Japanese sweet potato, called satsuma imo or “murasaki” (for the reddish purple color of the skin) although the flesh is much lighter. It is definitely sweeter. It is used to make a sweet mash for various Japanese desserts and confections. It is not always available in grocery stores, but I find them at my local Whole Foods or at Japanese grocery stores. Thank you for pointing out the difference between Jewel and Garnet yams….I was buying them interchangeably when I can’t get the Japanese ones.
    I like to eat the roasted Japanese sweet potato as a sweet snack, which doesn’t require added sugar.



    15 November 2018 at 3:12 am

  7. So, which variety is used on Okinawa and is credited with best health?



    25 January 2019 at 1:17 pm

  8. See the comment immediately above your comment.



    25 January 2019 at 1:27 pm

  9. I know this comment is half a year late, but I feel a correction is in order, as the information in previous comments may lead people to believe they are seeking or eating the healthiest potato out there when in fact they are actually eating one of the LEAST healthy varieties.

    The Murasaki sweet potato – also known as the Japanese sweet potato – has a very high glycemic index and, as indicated by its WHITE FLESH, little antixidant power. It is absolutely delicious, I will give it that – but it’s not so great for your health.

    The Okinawa purple sweet potato is the inverse in terms of color – extremely light brown, almost white, thick skin with deep almost glowing purple flesh inside. It (supposedly) has a very low glycemic index for a potato and is PACKED with anthocyanin antioxidants as indicated by the dazzlingly, impossibly purple flesh. It was one of the healthiest potatoes you can put in your stomach (well again, supposedly).

    Confusingly, the blog article lists two supposed pictures of what it calls a “satsumaito yam”, which I must admit I’m not familiar with. The first may very well be, though it looks neary identical to the murasaki/japanese yam mentioned above. You can clearly see that the second picture is not the same kind of potato as the first (and no, I’m pretty sure cooking the first won’t magially lighten it’s skin to look like the second) That second potato with the nearly white skin and deep purple flesh is, or at least looks identical to, the healthy okinawa sweet potato that you seek.

    Note that an even healther variety exists – the Stokes purple sweet potato. Unfortnuately these aren’t as sweet and delicious as the okinawa variety, but they still make for an amazing dinner in my opinion.



    3 July 2019 at 5:54 pm

  10. Thanks very much for your comment. With your permission, I’ll move it into the post (with credit) and adjust the current post text accordingly. I’m just reading How Not to Die, and Greger discusses the valuable nutrients in the dark orange and blue potatoes (totally absent in white and yellow potatoes) and also notes the importance of eating the skin, which contains many nutrients.

    Thanks again.



    3 July 2019 at 6:03 pm

  11. I was a produce buyer for four years. The dark orange flesh yams are garnet yams. They have a little bit more reddish and thicker skin, they are less starchy in texture, and a bit sweeter. They also can taper to a point in either end. I bake garnet yams in the oven, whole and eat them for breakfast. They are sweet and silky and need no toppings.



    19 September 2020 at 8:11 am

  12. Interesting. My supermarket in Monterey would identify the yams as garnet or jewel and, as shown in the photos, the yams called “jewel” were darker red, moister, and sweeter when cooked. Possibly they were mislabeled.



    19 September 2020 at 8:18 am

  13. I also thought that the garnet yam (sweet potato) was the one with the darker, more orange flesh and sweeter, richer taste. I sometimes find garnet and jewel yam labels swapped in the grocery store.



    20 November 2020 at 8:56 pm

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