Sweet Potatoes


The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a dicotyledonous plant which belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Amongst the approximately 50 genera and more than 1000 species of this family, only I. batatas is a crop plant whose large, starchy, sweet tasting tuberous roots are an important root vegetable (Purseglove, 1991; Woolfe, 1992).


Other names: Papa's Dulce, Yams
Translations: Sweet Kartupeļi, Saldžiosios bulvės, Cartofii dulci, Slatki krumpir, Khoai tây ngọt, Słodkie ziemniaki, Zoete aardappelen, मीठे आलू, Batata doce, Сладкий картофель, Γλυκοπατάτες, البطاطا الحلوة, 고구마, Sladké brambory, Слатки кромпир, Sweet patatas, 甘薯, Camote, Sladki krompir, Sladké zemiaky, Patate dolci, ובטטה, Sötpotatis, Ubi Jalar, さつまいも, Patates douces, Søde Kartofler, Sweet poteter, Camotes, Солодкий картопля, Bataatit, Сладки картофи

Physical Description

Large Starchy, Sweet Tasting Root Vegetable. Leafs can be eaten as Greens..

Colors: Reddish Brown

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Sweet, Starchy
Mouthfeel: Starchy, Smooth
Food complements: Turkey, Ham, Chicken, Bison, Burgers
Wine complements: Red wine
Beverage complements: Hot cider
Substitutes: Candied yams

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, september, opctober, november, december
Choosing: When choosing sweet potatoes look for the largest of the bunch! Make sure that they are fresh and are without bruising of any kind.
Buying: You can purchase at your local grocery store or local farmers market.
Procuring: Best grown at average temperature 75 Degrees F. Pesticides are rarely needed.

Preparation and Use

You can boil, roast, bake or fry sweet potatoes. Great substitute for fries.

Cleaning: You can rinse the sweet potatoes in cool water in preparation for cooking.

Conserving and Storing

Store at Room Temperature.


Thanks to our good researchers at Library of Congress:
Yams are closely related to lilies and grasses. Native to Africa and Asia, yams vary in size from that of a small potato to a record 130 pounds (as of 1999). There are over 600 varieties of yams and 95% of these crops are grown in Africa. Compared to sweet potatoes, yams are starchier and drier.
Sweet Potatoes
The many varieties of sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are members of the morning glory family, Convolvulacea. The skin color can range from white to yellow, red, purple or brown. The flesh also ranges in color from white to yellow, orange, or orange-red. Sweet potato varieties are classified as either ‘firm’ or ‘soft’. When cooked, those in the ‘firm’ category remain firm, while ‘soft’ varieties become soft and moist. It is the ‘soft’ varieties that are often labeled as yams in the United States.
Why the confusion?
In the United States, firm varieties of sweet potatoes were produced before soft varieties. When soft varieties were first grown commercially, there was a need to differentiate between the two. African slaves had already been calling the ‘soft’ sweet potatoes ‘yams’ because they resembled the yams in Africa. Thus, ‘soft’ sweet potatoes were referred to as ‘yams’ to distinguish them from the ‘firm’ varieties.

Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires labels with the term ‘yam’ to be accompanied by the term ‘sweet potato.’ Unless you specifically search for yams, which are usually found in an international market, you are probably eating sweet potatoes!

History: Sweet potatoes are native to South America and have been domesticated for over 5000 years...



Related Cooking Videos