Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are typically recognized by their copper-colored hide and vibrant orange pulp, though the hundreds of varieties grown worldwide display colors such as white, cream, yellow, reddish-purple, and trench purple. Although they are frequently found on vacation tables covered in marshmallows or blend with add sweeteners, there ’ s no need ! True to their list, fresh potatoes have a naturally dessert spirit, which is further enhanced through cooking methods like roasting. They are besides one of the top sources of beta-carotene—a precursor to vitamin A.

Unlike a potato ( comestible tubers of the nightshade family ), the sweet “ potato ” is a big comestible rout within the dawn glory kin. They ’ re besides different from yams, which are comestible tubers within the lily class and native to Africa and Asia. Chances are the “ yams ” found in your local supermarket are actually a variety show of fresh potato. truthful yams are distinguishable by their blackish/brown, bark-like skin and white or purple-toned flesh .

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Sweet Potatoes and Health

  • Sweet potatoes with orange flesh are richest in beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes with purple flesh are richer in anthocyanins. Beta-carotene and anthocyanins are naturally occurring plant “phyto” chemicals that give vegetables their bright colors. These phytochemicals are researched for their potential role in human health and disease prevention.
  • If swapping sweet potatoes for white potatoes, you’ll still want to go easy on the portions: Though sweet potatoes are a rich source of beta carotene, they have a high glycemic index and glycemic load—almost as high as that of a white potato. Most people don’t eat sweet potatoes in the same over-sized quantities as they do white potatoes, which is perhaps why research studies haven’t found sweet potatoes to be a major culprit for weight gain and diabetes.

Sweet potatoes prepared in a pan


  1. Store sweet potatoes in a cool, dry place. They are more perishable than you might think, so it is best to use them within a week of purchase.
  2. Before cooking, scrub the skins well as these are edible and nutritious.
  3. Pierce the potato with a fork 4-5 times, which allows steam to escape.
    • If cooking in an oven, place on a lined baking sheet in a preheated oven to 400 F. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until flesh is tender. Allow potatoes to cool a few minutes before slicing.
    • If microwaving, place on a microwave-safe dish and heat on high 8-10 minutes. Turn potatoes bottom side up halfway through cooking to ensure even heating. Allow potatoes to cool a few minutes before slicing.
  4. If boiling on the stove, peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Rinse well in a colander. Transfer potatoes to a pot and add water until cubes are completely covered. On medium-high heat, cover the pot and let potatoes simmer until tender, usually about 15-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and season as desired.


  • Add cooked, diced sweet potatoes to soups or salads.
  • For a quick meal, slice a baked sweet potato in half and top with cooked beans, broccoli, and feta cheese or Greek yogurt.
  • For mashed sweet potatoes: Use a fork, masher, or blender to puree the cooked potatoes. Add liquid such as water, broth, or milk if a smoother consistency is desired. Season with a dash of salt, pepper, spices, or herbs as desired.
  • Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie Sweet potatoFor roasted sweet potato wedges: Wash and cut a medium sweet potato into wedges. Coat with olive oil and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and herbs or spices if desired. Bake at 375 F for 25-35 minutes or until the insides are tender and the outsides are crisp.

More recipe ideas and serving suggestions featuring sweet potatoes:

Did You Know?

  • In addition to the root, sweet potato leaves and shoots are also edible and commonly eaten in some countries.
  • Boiling sweet potatoes retains more beta-carotene and makes the nutrient more absorbable than other cooking methods such as baking or frying. Up to 92% of the nutrient can be retained by limiting the cook time, such as boiling in a pot with a tightly covered lid for 20 minutes. Cooking with the skin on further helps to minimize leaching of nutrients including beta-carotene and vitamin C.

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