Sweet potatoes or yams: Both are delicious

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By Elli Rarick

It was many years before I knew the difference between sweet potatoes and yams. I still am not certain of any real difference except the color; one being a brighter orange color than the other. Like pumpkin, I like either one.

A baked sweet potato is about the simplest way I know to fix these delicious vegetables that can also be used to make desserts. And, with a microwave it is even simpler! Just wash the potato, pierce it in a couple of places with a fork and either wrap in foil for the oven or place on a paper plate and cover with a paper towel for the microwave.

When it comes out you only have to split it open and add butter and your choice of seasoning (some like salt and pepper; I like cinnamon).

A good sized sweet potato can provide a light meal when you really don't want to cook much but want some comfort food

Once again I have been going through my "Autumn in the Country" cookbook by Gooseberry Patch and cannot resist sharing some of these delicious recipes. I am making as many of them for us as I can! This cookbook is a jewel for real home-cooking ideas.

"Tuck some aluminum foil-wrapped apples or sweet potatoes into campfire coals for a treat. When they're tender, sprinkle with brown sugar or honey - eat right from the foil package."

"Cooked, mashed sweet potatoes, pumpkin and butternut squash can be used interchangeably in quick breads, pies, soups and other fall dishes. Feel free to substitute one for the other, or give a new twist to a tried and true recipe."

Whether you are cooking for your own family, a church potluck or entertaining, any of the following recipes will be a hit.

Spicy Sweet Potato Spread

Perry Mickley, Delaware, OH

1 lb. sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon tahini or creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and crushed

1 teaspoon brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon salt

one-fourth teaspoon cayenne pepper

one-eighth teaspoon pepper

juice of one lemon

orange zest to taste

1 teaspoon crumbled feta cheese

1 teaspoon pistachios, toasted and chopped

pita wedges or bagel chips

Bake sweet potatoes at 350 F. for 40 minutes, or until tender; cool. Peel and coarsely chop sweet potatoes; combine with next 9 ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Spoon into a serving bowl; sprinkle with cheese and pistachios. Serve with pita wedges or bagel chips. Makes about 2 cups.

Orange-Maple Glazed Yams

Roberta Miller, Washington, DC

4-three-fourths lbs. yams, peeled and cut into one-inch cubes

three-fourths cup maple syrup

6 tablespoons butter, melted

1-one-half teaspoon orange zest

Cook yams in boiling water for 3 minutes; drain. Place in a lightly greased 13"x9" baking pan; set aside. Blend syrup, butter and zest; pour over yams. Bake at 350 F. for 30 minutes, stirring and basting occasionally with syrup mixture. Continue baking for about 15 minutes, until a glaze forms. Serves 8 to 10.

One Potato-Two Potato Mash

Jill Ball, Highland, UT

2 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

one-fourth cup milk

1 tablespoon butter, sliced

Combine potatoes in a large saucepan; cove with water. Boil over medium heat until tender; drain. Add milk and butter; beat until smooth and creamy. Serves 4.

Apple and Sweet Potato Bake

Kathy Grashoff, Fort Wayne, IN

4 cups apples, cored, peeled and sliced

4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced

2 teaspoons onion, minced

three-fourths cup apple juice

three-fourths cup maple syrup

one-half cup butter, melted

12 brown and serve pork breakfast sausages

Layer apples, sweet potatoes and onion in a greased 2-quart casserole dish; set aside. Combine juice, syrup and butter; pour over layered mixture. Cover and bake at 350 F. for one hour. Arrange sausages on top; bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until sausages are browned. Serves 6.

Sweet Potato Fruit and Nut Loaf

Jo Ann Valentine, Oviedo, FL

"This batter makes yummy tea muffins too."

1-one-half cup all-purpose flour

1-one-fourth cup sugar

one-fourth teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

one-half cup oil

1-one-fourth cup canned sweet potatoes, drained and mashed

one-half cup maraschino cherries, drained and chopped

one-half cup chopped pecans

one-fourth cup golden raisins

Mix flour, sugar, salt and spices in a medium bowl; blend in eggs, milk and oil. Stir in remaining ingredients; pour into a greased and floured 9"x5" loaf pan. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes. Makes one loaf.