By Mary Lynne Hixson, MA, RD
Sweetpotato (one word) or sweet potato (two words)?
A bit of recently learned trivia: The International Potato Center, part of a global research partnership for a food-secure future influenced by climate change, opted to use the single word. They felt it helped to differentiate the sweet potato from the white or Irish potato.
In grocery stores and consumer recipes, sweet potato is generally two words. However, a widely used product resource for information and recipes used the one-word version. (https://fruitsandveggies.org/fruits-and-veggies/sweet-potato/)
Are sweet potatoes synonymous with yams? No. The similar shapes and hues lend to interchanging the terms in grocery stores. However, they are different biologically. True yams have a drier, starchy flesh with a rough, scaly skin. An ingredient in certain ethnic cuisines, they are generally not found in mainstream markets. Thus, labeled yams in our grocery stores are likely sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes come in many skin and fresh colors and textures. My easy-to-find favorites are Jewel and Garnet. A great identification source: https://www.saveur.com/gallery/16-Shades-of-Sweet/
The sweet potato is a nutritional powerhouse of fiber, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C and beta-carotene, and other phytochemicals. Conveniently, it has a long shelf life - up to 5 weeks - when stored in a cool, dark place. Its varied colors add interest to dishes and recipes.
Raw and cooked sweet potato skin is edible and a valuable source of fiber and nutrients. It’s important to first scrub the outer skin with a vegetable brush.
The Makings of a Good Sweet Potato: https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2018/11/06/makings-good-sweet-potato
10 Ways to Enjoy Sweet Potatoes: https://fruitsandveggies.org/stories/top-10-ways-to-enjoy-sweet-potatoes/
Two recipes using minimally processed ingredients:
Roasted Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili: https://www.cookingclassy.com/wprm_print/31687/
Shaved Brussel Sprout & Sweetpotato Salad: https://ncsweetpotatoes.com/recipe/shaved-brussel-sprout-sweet-potato-salad/
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