Nutrition

Ever Wondered why Sweet Potatoes are Sweet?

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Ever Wondered why Sweet Potatoes are Sweet? American Sweet Potato

Nutrition

Ever Wondered why Sweet Potatoes are Sweet?

By:

Sweet potatoes are strong in nutrients and have a delicious flavour—try this versatile superfood.

Sweet potatoes are a popular vegetable that can be incorporated into many dishes, and American sweet potatoes bring healthy nutrients and flavour to meals. Due to a shorter growing season, there is a very limited supply of sweet potatoes grown in Canada. As a result, American sweet potatoes are more readily available and Canadians can find them year-round in their local grocery store. Sweet potatoes are one of Canadians’ favourite vegetables, with 44% of Canadians eating them at least once a month and 22% eating them weekly.

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Image courtesy of American Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are tropical vegetables that thrive in hot and humid growing conditions such as the southern US states and California. Rich, fertile soil offers the perfect environment for growing sweet potatoes. American sweet potatoes are planted in May and early June through a transplanting process, which takes the delicate sweet potato seedlings known as slips, and plants them into rich, sandy soil. Harvesting begins in August or early September, after growing for over 100 days. They are handpicked, in order to reduce damage to their delicate skin.

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Image courtesy of American Sweet Potato

 

How do sweet potatoes get to be sweet?

Many Canadians often ask, “how do sweet potatoes get sweet?” When American sweet potatoes are harvested they undergo a natural curing process, where they are placed in warm environmentally controlled sheds to become sweet. During this time, the starch in the sweet potatoes turns to sugar and the skin of the sweet potato toughens, so they will not bruise when they are shipped.

 

A Superfood

Did you know that sweet potatoes are a superfood? One sweet potato has 694 mg of potassium, almost double what a banana has! Also, one medium sweet potato provides 37% of your daily value of Vitamin C and is also a great source of Vitamin A. This superfood is low in calories and although they are sweet potatoes, diabetics can enjoy them too. One medium cooked sweet potato, without skin, has a GI ranging from 63 to 66 and is considered a medium glycemic food.

 

Yams vs. Sweet Potatoes

While many Canadians use the term "yam" and "sweet potato" interchangeably, these two vegetables are not the same. A true yam is a starchy, edible tuber, generally with a drier taste than a sweet potato. Yams are rough, scaly, difficult to peel and very low in beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes are root vegetables and have a sweet tasting, moist texture. Depending on the variety, sweet potato flesh can vary from white to orange and even purple.

Why not challenge yourself to switch to sweet by adding American sweet potatoes to your favourite smoothie, salads, muffins, and even as an alternative to pasta noodles. Sweet potatoes are now available in a variety of convenient formats — spiralized, cubes, and fries.

For recipes ideas, visit us at americansweetpotato.org

 

Find more inspiration and follow the adventures of our sweet potato friend on @lifeofasweetpotato

 

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Nutrition

Ever Wondered why Sweet Potatoes are Sweet?

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