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Sweet Potato Facts, Tips and Recipes

Sweet Potato Facts and Harvesting and Storing TipsSweet Potato Facts, Harvesting and Storing Tips

Sweet potatoes are a root crop that require a long growing season - 90 to 130 days.  They are commercially grown in the Deep South and Texas. In the United States, they are also called Yams, but these are usually the same; it is just a cultural or regional naming difference, like "soda" or "pop". True Yams are diffferent, a genuine yam (Dioscorea), which is native to Africa and Asia, belongs to a different plant family. Both Sweet Potatoes and Yams come in a variety of colors, sizes and shapes, from yellow, orange, red, and even purple and blue. In the U.S. Sweet Potatoes typically peak during June in the South, and in July in the North.. See this page for a list of Sweet Potato festivals around the U.S.


Sweet Potato Facts and Tips

  • Sweet potatoes contain simple starches, and are also rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber and beta-carotene (a provitamin A carotenoid),
  • They have moderate contents of other micronutrients, including vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and manganese
  •  When they are baked, they are a good source of Vitamin C as baking increases the content of vitamin C to 24% of the Daily Value per 100 g serving .
  • The Center for Science in the Public Interest ranked the nutritional value of sweet potatoes as highest among several other foods.
  • Sweet potato cultivars with dark orange flesh have more beta-carotene than those with light-colored flesh.
  • Baked sweet potatoes is the most common way to prepare them; often served with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • Candied sweet potatoes are a side dish consisting mainly of sweet potatoes prepared with brown sugar, marshmallows, maple syrup, molasses, orange juice, marron glace, or other sweet ingredients. It is often served in America on Thanksgiving. Sweet potato casserole is a side dish of mashed sweet potatoes in a casserole dish, topped with a brown sugar and pecan topping.
  • Sweet potato pie is also a traditional favorite dish in Southern U.S. cuisine.
  • Sweet potato fries or chips are another popular side dish, made by julienning and deep frying sweet potatoes, like French fried potatoes.
  • Sweet potato butter can be cooked into a gourmet spread.

General Digging Tips

Hree are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Most of the potatoes are found under the center of the plant.  More appare out along the runners, where they have>Use a pitchfork to reduce damage.
  2. Started a few feet away from where the vines are rooted and work inward.
  3. LLoosen the soil, then feel for the roots with your hands.

Curing the sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are traditionally cured to improve storage, flavor, and nutrition, and to allow wounds on the periderm of the harvested root to heal.

Proper curing requires drying the freshly dug roots on the ground for two to three hours, then storage at 29-32 °C (85-90 °F) with 90 to 95% relative humidity from five to fourteen days. Cured sweet potatoes can keep for thirteen months when stored at 13-15 °C (55-59 °F) with >90% relative humidity. Colder temperatures than that injure the roots.


  1. DON'T wash the potatoes until you are ready to use them or freeze them.  Washing makes them more prone to spoiling./li>
  2. Pour them out into shallow pans and remove any mushed, soft or rotting potatoes
  3. Store them in a cool dry, dark place, where there will be no frost.

Sweet Potato Recipes, Freezing and Jam directions

  1. Canning sweet potatoes
  2. How to freeze potatoes
  3. Sweet Potato Festivals: Where, When and More to Find an Sweet Potato Festival Near You this year:

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Sweet Potatoes


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Canning & Preserving for Dummies by Karen Ward

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