We use a wide variety of fresh vegetables as ingredients to make all the delicious meals at Sipipa. But one vegetable that isn’t in any of our current dishes is the sweet potato. So when we learned November was Sweet Potato Awareness Month, we thought it was a great opportunity to learn more about this fall favorite.
Don’t Confuse Sweet Potatoes with Yams or Potatoes
Many people think sweet potatoes are interchangeable with yams, or that they are special type of potato. And although they taste very similar to yams and have “potato” in their name, they are actually quite different.
Sweet potatoes have smooth and delicate skin, tapered, pointier ends and weigh an average of 12 oz. They are a storage root that belong to the Convolvulaceae family. They are called herbaceous perennial vines, which is often known as the “morning glory family.” Sweet potatoes are a native vegetable to the Americas and grow mostly in North Carolina, California, Mississippi and Louisiana. But they grow throughout the world in areas with full sun and situated between 48 degrees north and 40 degrees south latitude, with China being the largest producer, accounting for more than three-quarters of global production.
Meanwhile, yams have rough and thick skin, rounded ends and can weigh anywhere from half a pound up to 100 pounds. Potatoes and yams, which are “tubers” or thickened stems, are members of the Solanaceae family, which also includes tomatoes, red peppers, eggplant and tobacco. Yams originating in Africa, but are also native to the Caribbean and Asia; they are not grown in the United States.
Delicious and Nutritious
Sweet potatoes are pretty easy to prepare for a variety of recipes, whether you bake them, fry them or turn them into a delicious pie. They are a great appetizer or side dish, but they can also be incorporated into a main dish.
They have no fat, are packed with nutrients and loaded with beta-carotene, antioxidants and Vitamins A, B6 and C. They also help fight heart disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.
When selecting a sweet potato, choose firm, small- to medium-sized potatoes with smooth skin and devoid of cracks, soft spots or blemishes. If you store them in a cool, dark place (like a pantry), they will remain good for 3-5 weeks. But don’t store them in the fridge, which will reduce the sweet flavor.
Sweet potatoes are especially popular in the fall. So with this new information, look up a recipe impress your friends and families with sweet potatoes at your next gathering or Thanksgiving feast.