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Pies, pancakes, bread pudding and more great recipes for sweet potatoes, now in season

Pale and orange varieties of sweet potatoes.
(Annie Wells / Los Angeles Times)

What’s in season: So is it a sweet potato or a yam? (Hint: They’re pretty much all sweet potatoes.) Native to the Americas, sweet potatoes come in hundreds of varieties, though they generally can be divided into two main groups: the pale tuber and the darker-skinned, bright-orange-fleshed root vegetables often mistakenly called “yams.” (The true yam is from a totally different plant and is typically found only in Latin or African markets.)

Although sweet potatoes can be found year-round in grocery stores, the season for this holiday staple typically extends from November through early spring. Pale sweet potatoes have a thinner, lighter skin; cooked, they’re dryer and more crumbly in texture, similar to a baking potato but with a slight nutty flavor. Darker, thick-skinned, orange sweet potatoes are sweeter, with a tender interior that holds together after cooking.

Pie, pancakes, bread pudding and more: 12 great recipes for sweet potatoes >>

What to cook: Many a Thanksgiving table is not complete without at least one representative sweet potato dish. Slowly cook sweet potatoes in a mixture of brown sugar and spices, then purée for a classic soufflé topped with a nut topping or marshmallows, or get creative by adding the roasted root to salads, gratins, soups and even tacos. Sweet potatoes are a favorite pie filling and also work well in bread puddings, fritters, biscuits and muffins.

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What’s on the horizon: Mandarin oranges, a first sign that high citrus season is coming, are just beginning to show up.

noelle.carter@latimes.com

@noellecarter

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