The recipe name "candied yams" is a bit of a misnomer. Orange sweet potatoes are often labeled as yams, but in truth, yams are in an entirely different family of root vegetables. A true yam is starchier than a sweet potato, but also sweet. Yams come from Africa and the Caribbean, and must be cooked in order to be safe to consume. Cooking a yam is laborious: it can be difficult to peel the thick skin, and it must be pounded and boiled.