Sweet potatoes are perfect for November, especially when served up as a delicious Thanksgiving day side dish! But did you know that the sweet potato isn't even related to the potato? It's actually related to the morning glory. But just because it isn't in the same family as the potato, doesn't make us love this versatile, delicious, and colorful tuber any less! They are regarded as one of the most nutrient dense vegetables and both the skin and flesh are edible. These tubers come in white, yellow, and orange varieties. Although often confused with yams, sweet potatoes are more flavorful and less starchy.
Native to Central America, the sweet potato is not related to potatoes but instead is in the same family as morning glory. Remains of sweet potatoes were discovered in a cave in Peru, showing that they have been consumed since prehistoric times. This crop was an important dietary staple for early American homesteaders and for soldiers during the Civil War. Sweet potatoes are very popular in the southern United States and have been grown in that region since the 16th century. Although often mistaken for the yam, sweet potatoes are more flavorful and less starchy than yams.
Sweet potatoes are high in vitamins A and C. They also provide fiber and potassium.
- Sweet potatoes contain an enzyme which converts many of its starches to sugar as it matures
- There are over 300 varieties of sweet potato, with flesh ranging from white to deep orange
- In Eastern medicine, this vegetable is highly regarded for its tonifying and nourishing abilities
- Sweet potatoes and yam are two different crops- yams can grow much larger than sweet potatoes and are native to Africa and Asia