Everyone loves sweet potatoes! They make excellent fries and are delicious in puree as well. Their taste reminds us of chestnuts and carrots. Besides, did you know there are over 400 varieties of sweet potatoes? The latter can be divided into two categories: wet flesh and dry flesh. Sweet potatoes with wet flesh are orange and taste sweeter, while dry flesh ones tend to be yellow or even whitish and taste floury when cooked. Do not confuse sweet potatoes with yams! Yams are much less sweet.

GOOD TO KNOW: Learn how to freeze sweet potatoes! And while you’re at it, why not learn the difference between sweet potatoes and potatoes? Keep learning with BPT!

BPT loves to use sweet potato in all its forms in recipes because it’s a good source of vitamin C! The latter protects against infections and contributes to wound healing. Plus, this vitamin also helps absorbing the iron from plants!

  • What Are the Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes?

    Sweet potatoes are particularly rich in vitamin A

    Indeed, sweet potatoes are much richer in vitamin A than regular white potatoes. More precisely, carotenoids (especially beta-carotene) are precursors of vitamin A and are responsible for sweet potatoes’ orange colour. Therefore, the more colourful the potato, the more it contains vitamin A! Besides, carotenoids are powerful antioxidants that protect our cells against free radicals. This helps prevent cancers and cardiovascular problems.

    Sweet potatoes have great antioxidant properties

    If you love sweet potatoes, you’ll be happy to hear that in addition to containing carotenoids, they are also made of phenolic compounds and anthocyanins, which also have antioxidant properties. Essentially, antioxidants prevent the apparition of many chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular problems.

    Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of manganese

    Sweet potatoes are filled with manganese, a trace mineral that’s required in small quantities by the body. In fact, manganese protects the body against free radicals who foster the development of many diseases. Besides, it is also essential to the proper functioning of the brain, nervous system, and other enzyme systems of the body.

  • How to Pick the Best Sweet Potato?

    When selecting a sweet potato, make sure that it is firm and that its peel is free of spots, cracks, and bruises. It is also recommended to avoid potatoes that have been refrigerated. Indeed, cold temperatures affect the organoleptic qualities of sweet potatoes.

    Availability of sweet potatoes

    Although sweet potatoes originate from Central America, they can actually be cultivated in various climates that offer temperatures above 20° C. Besides, nowadays, China, Vietnam, Japan, India, and Indonesia are some of the largest sweet potato producers. Since it can be harvested in Canada and in many other countries around the world, sweet potatoes are available all year long in grocery stores. You can even find diced sweet potatoes or fries in the frozen products aisle. Sweet potato crackers and chips are also increasingly popular!

    How to store sweet potatoes

    To extend the shelf life of your sweet potatoes as much as possible, store them in a fresh, dark, and well-ventilated place. They can be kept 7 to 10 days this way. If you wish to cut your potatoes in advance, cover the pieces with cold water. This method prevents the flesh from rotting since it won’t be in contact with the air! As for cooked sweet potatoes, they can be kept 1 week in the refrigerator. However, do not store them in the refrigerator before cooking because the cold could damage them.

    Sweet Potato Q&A

  • Is sweet potato a potato?

    Nope! Despite its name, sweet potato is not a potato! Indeed, altough both are similar from a nutritional point of view, they actually differ in taste and appearance. Sweet potatoes are much larger than potatoes and are usually orange. Plus, sweet potatoes are part of the convolvulaceae family while potatoes are part of the solanaceae family.

  • Is sweet potato a starchy food?

    Yes, sweet potato is a starchy food. To be more precise, it is rich in starch, a complex carbohydrate. It therefore contains a lot of carbs and offers few proteins, which are two typical characteristics of starchy foods.

  • Is the peel of sweet potatoes edible?

    Of course the peel is edible! Sweet potatoes are edible and delicious with or without the peel. You can choose to prepare it any way you like. Psst! The peel contains a lot of fibers! It can be interesting to include it in your sweet potato recipes!

  • How can you quickly cook sweet potatoes?

    If you’re short on time, steaming is the quickest way to cook sweet potatoes. Indeed, it should only take you about 10 minutes. Make sure to dice your sweet potatoes beforehand to speed up the cooking time. With these tips, they will be ready in no time!

  • Do sweet potatoes oxidize?

    Yes, sweet potatoes oxidize, but only once they are peeled. When exposed to air, the flesh will darken over time. To reduce oxidation, submerge your sweet potato pieces in water. This is an essential step, especially if you only plan to cook them in the next few days.

Did you know that…

you can eat the leaves that grow on the stems of cultivated sweet potatoes? They are filled with nutrients, and their texture is similar to that of spinach. That being said, they have a very strong taste, so it is better to include them in a salad mix instead of eating them alone!

Sweet Potato Uses

  • Baked sweet potatoes: A cold weather classic, stuffed sweet potatoes are the perfect side to many dishes. For a change, stuff your potato with black beans, lime juice, avocado, sour cream, quinoa, and grated cheese. This explosion of flavours is sure to satisfy your hunger!
  • Sweet potato fries: The key for this recipe is simplicity! Cut your sweet potato into sticks of desired size, then mix the latter in a bowl with vegetable oil and Cajun spices. After 30 minutes in the oven, your fries will be crispy and delicious! Enjoy them with lime aioli mayonnaise (it’s perfect with Cajun spices!).
  • Sweet potato soup: Pureed sweet potatoes can make a super comforting soup. As for the soup base, you will need vegetable broth, an onion, and a bit of garlic. Get creative and incorporate your favourite flavours!
  • Sweet potato puree: Want a change from the traditional mashed potatoes? Use sweet potatoes instead! You could even do a fifty-fifty recipe with both types.
  • Sautéed sweet potatoes: Short on time and don’t know what vegetables to eat for dinner? No problem! Simply sauté your sweet potatoes with your favourite spices!
  • BBQ sweet potatoes: Vegetables en papillote are a BBQ staple, and sweet potatoes are perfect for that! Diced and seasoned with funky spices, your can easily mix them with other vegetables and cook them en papillote on the grill!
  • Sweet potato vermicelli: For a change from rice vermicelli, buy sweet potato vermicelli instead! They are available in some Asian grocery stores.
  • Sweet potato muffins: Sweet potatoes provide a nice flavour to muffins. Try it in this squash and chocolate chip muffin recipe! Just substitute the squash with sweet potatoes.
  • Sweet potato shepherd’s pie: Prepare a colourful shepherd’s pie by making a sweet potato puree instead of the classic potato puree. You won’t ever want to go back to the traditional version!
  • Sweet potato vegetarian tacos: Oven-roasted sweet potato cubes are perfect as a taco filling (soft or hard shells!). Combine them with guacamole, red bell peppers, corn, and beans for flavourful traditional-style tacos!
  • Sweet potato gratin: A sweet potato gratin is an excellent idea for weekday dinners. Made with basic ingredients such as flour, butter, garlic, cream, and cheese, this super comforting meal is a nice change from the white potato classic. 
  • Sweet potato tartlets: Are your surprised to hear that that sweet potatoes can also be included in desserts such as tartlets? Mix your sweet potato puree with spices, eggs, butter, and sugar to reinvent the pie your grandmother is used to.
  • Sweet potato breakfast bowl: What’s great with sweet potatoes is that their singuliar taste makes it easy to include them in salty AND sweet recipes. Thanks to sweet potato’s versatility, you can create a breakfast bowl with eggs, vegetables, and salsa, or make a sweet version with fruits, nuts, and maple syrup.
  • Sweet potato vegetarian curry: Coconut milk, tomatoes, peppers, curry powder, and sweet potatoes make a delicious vegetarian curry that won’t go unnoticed! Psst! We also love to dip our naan in this sauce!
  • Sweet potato patties: If you like to cook vegetarian meals, sweet potato patties are the perfect substitute to chicken strips, for example. Grate your sweet potato, season it, then mix it with crumbled tofu, feta cheese, and green onions to make delicious and healthy patties!

Nutritional Values of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, and especially in beta-carotene, it’s precursor. They are an excellent source of manganese, in addition to providing significant amounts of vitamin B6 and vitamin C. They also contain phenolic compounds and anthocyanins, which both have antioxidant properties.

PortionUnits1 raw sweet potato (130 g)1 cooked sweet potato (151 g)125 ml of sweet potato puree (135 g)Sweet potato fries (100 g)125 ml of raw sweet potato leaves (19 g)
Vitamin Aµg921.71188.41018.5ND35.7
Thiamin (B1)mg0.10.090.04ND0.03
Riboflavin (B2)mg0.080.070.12ND0.07
Niacin (B3)NE1.41.31.8ND0.3
Pantothenic acid (B5)mg1.040.880.69ND0.04
Pyridoxine (B6)mg0.270.250.32ND0.04
Folic acid (B9)µg14.39.114.8ND0.2
Cobalamin (B12)µg000ND0
Vitamin Cmg3.119.374.52.1
Vitamin Dµg000ND0
Vitamin E (Tocopherol, alpha)mg0.31.41.5ND0.2
Vitamin Kµg2.33.2NDND57.1
Source : Canadian Nutrient Files (CNF)Canadian Nutrient Files, Nutrient profile, Sweet potato, raw, Food code: 2240.Canadian Nutrient Files, Nutrient profile, Sweet potato, boiled without skin, Food code: 2242.Canadian Nutrient Files, Nutrient profile, Sweet potato, canned, mashed, Food code: 2244.Canadian Nutrient Files, Nutrient profile, Sweet potato, french-fried, frozen, unprepared, Food code: 7264.Canadian Nutrient Files, Nutrient profile, Sweet potato leaves, raw, Food code: 2238.