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Ten Facts about Sweet Potatoes

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Ten Facts about Sweet Potatoes

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Nowadays, media raves on about regular potatoes, but do they ever take a moment to acknowledge the ACTUAL best type of potato? No. No, they do not. Lots of people cannot appreciate the natural sugary deliciousness of a sweet potato, but this article definitely can! Here are 10 awesome facts about sweet potatoes you probably did not bother to take the time to learn about.

 

  1. Even though sweet potatoes are all-American, sweet potatoes are used in dishes from different cuisines all around the world.
    1. It is surprising, considering the fact that most people from different countries and cultures generally consider American cuisine and culture to be distasteful. But, they use our native crops anyway! Yes, sweet potatoes have been growing in North America by the Native Americans, even before Christopher Columbus in 1492. By the sixteenth century, sweet potatoes were also being harvested ‘down South as they became a staple part of their cuisine. Now, they are used in Southern, Thai, Caribbean, and so much more cuisines around the world!
  2. Even though some people call sweet potatoes yams, these vegetables are not the same thing.
    1. Yams are actually a variety of the sweet potato that is primarily cultivated in the South. A true yam is also much more rough, scaly, and low in beta carotene, whereas a sweet potato is smoother and much higher in beta-carotene. Note: Beta-carotene is essentially Vitamin A, which is important to us humans maintain our health.
  3. Both the leaves and the root of the sweet potato can be eaten.
    1. The root, as we all know, is the main part of the sweet potato that most people eat. But did you know that you can also eat the leaves, too? This is actually quite common, as many people eat the leaves of the sweet potato as greens as a part of their diet. Sweet potato leaves are actually considered “superfoods” like other greens you may know, such as kale or chard. Sweet potato leaves are tastier, though: they have a softer texture and a less bitter taste than kale or chard.
  4. Sweet potatoes are the official vegetable of North Carolina.
    1. Bet you didn’t even know that states could have official vegetables, did you? But, it is not surprising that North Carolina chose sweet potatoes as their choice of vegetables because North Carolina is famously known for their delicious sweet potatoes. In fact, North Carolina is the top producer of sweet potatoes in the United States of America.
  5. George Washington grew sweet potatoes on his farmland in Mount Vernon, Virginia.
    1. And apparently, there is more than just one George Washington that has something to do with sweet potatoes. A man named George Washington Carver was able to create many other uses for sweet potatoes other than just eating them. Some major inventions that George Washington Carver came up with sweet potatoes are vinegar, molasses, postage stamp glue, a type of synthetic rubber, and a type of ink source.
  6. Did you know that sweet potato can be fried, juiced, and pureed?
    1. Sweet potatoes can be fried to make sweet potato fries. And every time you eat them, you get upgraded from being a basic person to an amazingly healthy person that eats cool stuff. Like fried sweet potatoes! And juiced sweet potatoes, and pureed sweet potatoes… these actually taste really good. You can even add a little extra flair with cinnamon, sugar, other spices, and other fruits!
  7. When you eat a sweet potato with the skin still on, you not only get the awesome health benefits of the sweet potato flesh, you also get a great source of fiber from the skin.
    1. The skin of a sweet potato is rich in nutrients, two main ones being fiber (as said before) and potassium. You can retain these nutrients by baking the potatoes instead of boiling them in hot water. By boiling them in hot water, the water causes the water soluble nutrients to be lost. So have a baked sweet potato, and enjoy a great taste, and great health benefits.
  8. Sweet potatoes can help with weight loss, healthy and radiant skin, preventing cancer, cholesterol levels, diabetes, prostate health, and inflammatory diseases (like heart disease)!! What!!
    1. So, apparently, sweet potatoes are actually vegetables that descended from the heavens above, because of look at all of those awesome, MAJOR health benefits! Does anyone know any other type of food that will help with all of that?! DOES ANYONE?! No? Then the best all-around food award goes to… the sweet potato!
  9. During the Revolutionary War, sweet potatoes were a main source of nourishment.
    1. The colonists must have been pretty smart to think of using the sweet potatoes, because if you had been reading the above facts so far, then you would know that sweet potatoes are the BOMB, because they have so many great health benefits, and they taste great! Live off of sweet potatoes, everybody. No need for any soylent green here. Grow some sweet potatoes, eat them, and be on your way.
  10. Um… the sweet potato is actually only very minimally related to an actual potato… and, botanically, they aren’t related at all. This probably disappoints you.
    1. Potatoes belong to the Solanaceae family. Interestingly, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and strangely, nightshade (which is a type of psychoactive flowering plant) are all more botanically related to the potato than the sweet potato, which, on the other hand, belongs to the Convolvulaceae family, which includes flowering morning glory vines. An important fact to remember when eating and distinguishing the two is that the leaves of a regular potato are poisonous, and you should not eat them under any circumstances. But, as stated before, you can eat the leaves of a sweet potato, especially since they are such a great source of fiber and potassium. The only way regular potatoes and sweet potatoes are related in any way is that they are both tubers.

So there you have it, ten awesome fun facts about the glorious sweet potato. Of course, there are many more facts about sweet potatoes that are also very important. Such as another list of the seemingly endless health benefits of the sweet potato. As KMS student Lauren N. says, “Now that I know all of this, I’m just going to go eat a bunch of sweet potatoes.”

 

So am I, Lauren. So am I.

 

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Ten Facts about Sweet Potatoes