Sweet potatoes are versatile, healthy, and delicious.
While some people only eat sweet potatoes as a holiday side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas, sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients and should be eaten regularly.
Due to their name and sweet flavor, many people find it hard to believe sweet potatoes are actually vegetables.
They are sometimes confused with fruits because of their flavor and the bright vines that grow from them.
Even though sweet potatoes have a different look, flavor, and texture than regular potatoes, they come from the same family, and both are vegetables.
Is A Sweet Potato A Vegetable Or A Fruit?
Sweet potatoes are vegetables.
They grow on the root of a plant and do not contain any seeds.
Because of their sweet flavor, many people often assume that sweet potatoes are fruits.
Fruits grow from the flowers of plants, and vegetables typically grow from the roots or stems.
Sweet potatoes are starchy and grow very similarly to regular potatoes, which are also vegetables.
While the root is the most popular part of the plant to be eaten, the leaves and stem of sweet potato are also edible.
Sweet potatoes are often grown in Japan, Russia, and South America, but some varieties are also grown in the United States.
They grow with long stems and bright leaves.
The plants do flower, and the flowers appear as white or light pink blossoms that grow in clusters.
Sweet potatoes take about six months to grow before they can be harvested.
What’s The Difference Between A Fruit And A Vegetable?
There are many differences between fruits and vegetables, and the most obvious is the lack or presence of seeds.
Fruits usually have seeds inside them, while vegetables do not.
Vegetables usually consist of roots or tubers.
Fruits and vegetables are also classified based on which part of the plant they come from.
Fruits develop from the flower of the plant, and vegetables develop in other areas.
Fruits also tend to have a sweet flavor and are usually moist and fleshy.
Vegetables tend to be dry and have a more sultry or subtle flavor.
Many fruits are often mistaken for vegetables, mostly because they don’t have a sweet flavor.
Some examples include:
Sweet potatoes are often mistaken for fruit because they have such a sweet flavor.
When it comes to determining if a food is a fruit or vegetable, the physical characteristics should be considered over the flavors.
While fruits are typically sweet and vegetables are typically more savory, the flavor is not enough to base the classification on.
Fruits are the fleshy part of a flower, particularly the flower’s ovum.
They tend to be sweet and usually have seeds on the inside or outside.
Fruits also grow on vines or in trees.
Fruits are grown in different climates and often have a season where they are grown to their peak health before being picked and processed.
Fruits can be prepared in many different ways, but they are often just peeled or sliced and served alone as a healthy snacking option.
A vegetable is part of a plant that is used for food.
Vegetables can be raised and farmed in many different climates.
Some climates are better known for producing certain types of vegetables than others.
Vegetables grow in the ground.
Vegetables are typically savory or have a very subtle flavor.
Vegetables do not have seeds, and they do not come from the flower of the plant.
Instead, vegetables grow from the roots or leaves of plants.
Vegetables are often added to different recipes or cooked as side dishes that can accompany meats and bread.
Are Sweet Potatoes The Same As Yams?
Sweet potatoes and yams are not the same foods. When compared side by side, yams and sweet potatoes are actually very different.
Still, each sometimes gets confused with the other, and many people wonder which one is the right dish for their meal or desired taste.
Sweet potatoes are larger and rounder than yams.
They also have a brighter color and a bigger range of colors.
Sweet potatoes can range from yellow to purple, while yams tend to be more beige or white.
The exterior skin is also different.
Sweet potatoes have smooth, thin skin, and yams have thick, patchy skin.
Sweet potatoes are also moister than yams, which tend to be dry.
The flavor profile is similar, but sweet potatoes have a deeper sweetness than yams.
Yams are still sweeter than regular potatoes, but their sweetness is much lighter.
The edible part of the yam is the uber, and the edible part of the sweet potato is the root.
In terms of nutrition, they are very similar and contain many of the same nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Preparation methods are also very similar, and yams and sweet potatoes are often substituted for each other due to their similar textures and flavors.
Are Sweet Potatoes The Same As Regular Potatoes?
While sweet potatoes are a part of the potato family, they are different from other types of potatoes.
At a glance, sweet potatoes are much more colorful.
They can range in color from purple to orange.
They are also usually larger than white potatoes and have a more oblong shape.
When you compare uncooked potatoes, they are very similar, but when cooked, sweet potatoes appear to have more calories per serving, more carbohydrates, and more fat than a regular potato.
Regular potatoes do have higher levels of protein.
Sweet potatoes also have more minerals and higher amounts of Vitamins A and C, but regular potatoes tend to have more B vitamins.
They also have different flavors.
Sweet potatoes tend to have a sweeter and lighter flavor, while regular potatoes have a subtle, savory flavor.
Both can be prepared in similar ways, but as the name suggests, sweet potatoes are often prepared to be sweet or to accompany sweet foods.
Is A Sweet Potato A Vegetable Or A Starch?
Sweet potatoes are both a vegetable and a starch.
They fall under the category of starchy root vegetables.
While almost all vegetables contain some starch, some have higher starch content than others.
Starchy vegetables are also likely to contain more carbohydrates, which the body burns for energy.
Starch is found in certain foods, and it has some health benefits.
Some vegetables are considered starchy, and others are not.
Starchy vegetables tend to have more calories than vegetables that are not starchy.
Starchy vegetables are often packed with antioxidants.
Antioxidants help reduce free radicals in the body and can help reduce the risk of cancer and cataracts.
Antioxidants also improve the health of the skin, hair, and nails.
Sweet potatoes and other starchy vegetables are also high in many vitamins.
In addition to being a great source of Vitamin A, sweet potatoes are also packed with Vitamin C, which can boost the immune system, and Vitamin B, which can help improve memory and boost your mood.
Starchy vegetables have high amounts of minerals such as magnesium, which has been found to reduce migraines, and zinc, which can improve eye health and help with tissue growth and repair.
Are Sweet Potatoes Healthy?
Sweet potatoes are considered a very healthy food because they are packed with vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial to the human body.
They are low in calories per serving, and one serving of sweet potatoes provides your body with 400% of the Vitamin A it requires each day.
Sweet potatoes have also been found to help boost the immune system and provide nourishment to the reproductive organs and the heart and kidneys.
Sweet potatoes can be eaten every day, and because they are low in fat, they can even help with weight loss.
Sweet potatoes are known to be rich in fiber, which has many health benefits.
Fibrous foods take longer to chew and digest, which means it helps you feel full longer and can help reduce the risk of overeating.
Fiber also helps slow down the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestines and can help blood sugar levels.
It also aids in digestion and helps ensure regular bowel movements.
People who eat foods that are high in fiber are less likely to suffer constipation and other digestive issues.
Sweet potatoes are a good source of protein.
The body needs protein to help build muscle mass and rebuild tissues.
Protein also helps regulate hormones and aid in cell repair.
Protein helps keep bones stronger and can even help boost weight loss.
Foods that contain high amounts of protein are also very hearty and filling.
They can help keep a person feeling full between meals, so snacking is less likely.
Vitamin A is found in sweet potatoes and has many health benefits.
It’s related to eye health and is sometimes called retinol because it is responsible for producing pigment in the eyes.
It helps improve vision and can make it easier for a person to see at night.
Vitamin A is also an essential vitamin to allow for bone health and repair.
It helps keep teeth healthy and allows for the formation and regrowth of skin, soft tissue, and mucous membranes.
Sweet potatoes are low-fat foods that help reduce calorie intake and can aid in weight loss.
A low-fat diet can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
It can also help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Choosing foods that are low in fat over foods that are high in saturated fats can help reduce the risk of obesity, improve digestion, and even fight Alzheimer’s disease.
Carbohydrates often get a bad rap and are associated with weight gain, but they are a necessary nutrient for the body.
Carbohydrates are the first things that the body burns for energy, so as long as they are consumed in moderation, carbohydrates are part of a healthy diet.
Sweet potatoes are starchy vegetables, and therefore, they contain carbohydrates.
They can help provide energy and create a full feeling that reduces the risk of overeating.
How Can You Tell If A Sweet Potato Is Bad?
Sweet potatoes can last for several weeks before they start to go bad, and sometimes they rot from the inside out, and it’s not noticeable that the sweet potato is bad until you cut or slice it.
Signs on the outside are often subtle and hard to see.
They can include such things as discoloration, mold growth, and holes or small rotten spots.
On the inside, white spots can grow on the sweet potato when it starts to rot.
The sweet potato may also start to give off a bad odor and may appear to be shriveled up or squishy to the touch.
Sweet potatoes should never appear wet or sticky, and they should have an overall orange, brown, or purple color.
Never eat a sweet potato if it appears to be rotten or bad.
Sweet potatoes sometimes excrete a white liquid that many people relate to their overall health.
This is completely normal and doesn’t mean the sweet potato has gone bad.
In fact, this white liquid can be consumed along with the rest of the sweet potato.
How Do You Store Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are more likely to last longer if they are stored properly.
Fresh sweet potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place.
Potato bins are a great option for storing sweet potatoes.
It is also okay to add the potatoes to a brown bag that is full of sawdust or wood shavings.
This helps keep moisture away from the potato and prevents it from rotting.
Uncooked sweet potatoes should never be kept in a refrigerator.
This can cause the centers to become hard, and it can lead to a bitter or acidic flavor.
Sliced sweet potatoes can be frozen after they have been cooked.
The sweet potatoes should be sliced and prepared as desired.
Once they are cooled to room temperature, they should be arranged in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Once the slices are frozen, they can be added to a freezer bag and layered.
Whenever you want to eat them, they can be reheated quickly and easily.
They should last for up to four months in the freezer if prepared properly.
What Are The Different Ways To Prepare Sweet Potatoes?
One of the things that make sweet potatoes such a popular meal is that they are very versatile and easy to prepare.
They are great when cooked and eaten plain, but they can also be added to many different recipes or combined with spices and other ingredients to be tasty side dishes.
Some of the most popular ways to prepare sweet potatoes include,
- Baked sweet potatoes
- Mashed sweet potatoes
- Sweet potato casserole
- Sweet potato pie
- Roasted sweet potatoes
- Sweet potato soup
- Grilled sweet potatoes
- Candied sweet potatoes
- Twice-baked sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes can be prepared much like regular potatoes, but they do have a different flavor and texture.
Some people actually prefer the flavor and texture of sweet potatoes and use them in place of regular potatoes for traditional dishes.