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Sweet Potato the Nutritious Vegetable

Updated on June 9, 2015

Sweet Potatoes in Field

Photo Courtesy of fotosearch
Photo Courtesy of fotosearch

Sweet Potato

Photo Courtesy of All Recipes
Photo Courtesy of All Recipes

Buying Sweet Potatoes

The sweet potato is a large starchy vegetable that is actually a sweet tasting tuberous root. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. There are more than 1000 species of Convolvulaceae, which is the plant family for this potato. It is actually distantly related to the white potato. Sweet potatoes were domesticated at least 5000 years ago in South America. In 1543, Spanish explorers also found sweet potatoes in “Indian Gardens” in Louisiana and in Carolina. They are now cultivated throughout tropical and warm temperate regions where there is sufficient water.

When buying sweet potatoes it isn’t much different than buying white potatoes. They should be heavy for their size, firm, free of blemishes, mold or sprouts. If they have sprouts you know they are really old. You can store the potatoes in the pantry in a cool dark place and they usually will keep for 2 or 3 weeks. Scrub them before you bake or peel them as they usually have loose dirt on the skin.

Nutritional Value of a Sweet Potato

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) ranks the sweet potato as number one in nutrition of all vegetables.

Nutritional Information for sweet potato –one medium potato:

  • Calories 130
  • Fat 0.39 g
  • Protein 2.15 g
  • Net Carbs 31.56 g
  • Dietary fiber 3.9 g
  • Calcium 28.6 mg
  • Sodium 16.9 mg
  • Potassium 265.2 mg
  • Folate 18.2 mcg
  • Vitamin C 29.51 mg
  • Vitamin A 26081.9 IU

Sweet potatoes have the lowest glycemic index among root vegetables. This is because the sweet potato digests slowly causing a gradual rise in blood sugar so you feel satisfied.

Yam

Photo Courtesy of Clip Art
Photo Courtesy of Clip Art

Yam Characteristics

The softer variety of orange potatoes is called Yam in North American in an attempt to differentiate it from the firmer white potato. The yam is unrelated to the sweet potato and it is native to Africa and Asia. This tuber grows on a tropical vine. Many yams grow wild in South
America. There are differences between sweet potatoes and yams. Yams contain more natural sugar than the sweet potato and have a higher moisture content. They are very popular in South America. While they are very nutritious, they don’t quite compare to the sweet potato

Sweet Potato Casserole Demonstration

Sweet Potatos and Apple

My photo
My photo

Sweet Potato Dishes

Besides just baking a sweet potato there are many delicious ways to cook them. These are a few good recipes: candied sweet potatoes, sweet potato soufflé, sweet potato fries, sweet potato salad, sweet potato casserole, and sweet potato hash browns to name just a few. There are numerous recipes found on the Internet and in your cookbooks. Many of these casseroles have added white and brown sugar, butter, marshmallow topping and pecans, so the calories would be higher. The more heavy laden recipes are quite often used for special occasions, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are also some low fat recipes using skim milk, egg whites, and lesser amounts of brown sugar with toppings of chopped pecans, brown sugar, flour and butter. You could also microwave sweet potatoes and use just a bit of margarine with a little maple syrup for a topping.

Casserole with Marshmellow Topping

Photo courtesy of Fotosearch
Photo courtesy of Fotosearch

Sweet Potato Soup

flicker
flicker

Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet potatoes can also be used in soups. They are often creamy soups with a chicken or vegetable broth base and several spices are often added, such as cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Also, the soup might have garlic, celery, leeks, and onion.

Making Sweet Potato Pie

Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding Cake

Photo Courtesy of Recipe Land
Photo Courtesy of Recipe Land

Sweet Potato Desserts

We can’t overlook the wonderful desserts using sweet potatoes. There are some good cake recipes and no good Southerner would let Thanksgiving pass by without sweet potato pie. It is a loved dessert in the south.

Sweet Potato Pie

Courtesy of all recipes
Courtesy of all recipes

Sweet Potato Cookbook

In Conclusion

As this hub has shown, sweet potatoes are very nutritious and you can keep the calories down by just baking one in your microwave or oven. There are numerous ways you can prepare this healthy vegetable for a meal with casseroles and soups. Of course, the desserts are delicious.

James Taylor sings "Sweet Potato"

© 2010 Pamela Oglesby

Comments

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  • Pamela99 profile image
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    Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

    Snowdrops, That happens to me also when I read some of the great recipes on Hubpages. Thanks for your comments.

  • snowdrops profile image

    snowdrops 5 years ago from The Second Star to the Right

    Great recipes! hmm..now, im starving!!

    Love this hub!

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

    RKHenry, I fail to see what is scary about sweet potatoes. You can simply bake them in the oven like a white potato and get more nutrients. The recipes with sugar may be your concern. Thanks for the comment.

    BDhire, Thank you for your comment.

  • BDhire profile image

    BDhire 5 years ago

    I think this recipe will be delicious I will try it :)

  • RKHenry profile image

    RKHenry 5 years ago from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA

    Scary stuff Peg... Makes one wary about they are eating these days.

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

    Peggy, Yes, they are a healthy choice. Thank you for your comment.

    Case1worker, That recipe sounds very interesting. I haven't had anything like that but I think I would like it. Thanks for your comments.

    RTalloni, I agree completely. I appreciate your comments.

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

    Good info here on sweet potatoes--an amazing food for its nutrition and varieties of uses in recipes from desserts to main dishes. Glad to learn more about its nutrition here--thanks!

  • CASE1WORKER profile image

    CASE1WORKER 5 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

    Great hub. My husband bought some sweet potatoes in our local supermarket and then combined them in equal quantities with normal potatoes to make mash. This he used to cover his fish pie- the flavour was superb! I think we will be using them more

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

    I always wondered what the difference was between sweet potatoes and yams and now, thanks to you, I know. I like sweet potatoes best when simply mashed and also when added to soups. Need to put them on my shopping list! Thanks for this informative hub. Voted up and useful and will share.

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Jake, I don't have an exact answer to that but it would be very difficult to eat so much that Vitamin A became a problem. You just don't hear about vitamin A overdoses.

  • profile image

    jake 6 years ago

    How many sweet potatoes could you eat daily without worrying about over doing the Vitamin A ?

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    I appreciate you sharing this hub. Thanks for your comment.

  • hoangkimvietnam profile image

    hoangkimvietnam 7 years ago from Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam

    Greeting from hoangkimvietnam. Excellent. I would like to share it at http://foodcrops.blogspot.com. Thank you very much.

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Marty, Thanks your so much for your comments.

  • MartyWare profile image

    MartyWare 7 years ago from New South Wales Australia

    My Mum put me onto sweet potatoes because of the nutritional value. I love them steamed. Also they are low in carbs. Keeps the weight down!

    Marty Ware

    The SEO DAD & The creator of the Hubpages Tribe.

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Lamme, me too. Thanks for your comments.

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 7 years ago

    I love sweet potatoes ... and sweet potato pie :)

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Nancy, Thanks for your comment.

    Habee, We so too. Thanks for your comment.

  • habee profile image

    Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

    Oh, we love sweet taters!

  • nancy_30 profile image

    nancy_30 7 years ago from Georgia

    Great information. I haven't had sweet potatoes in awhile, but I love them.

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Miata, Thank you for your comments.

  • prettydarkhorse profile image

    prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

    Now we are talking really, I miss this one, my mom loves to cook this boiled and so it is very nutritious, awesome, Maita

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    akirchner, I love them too. Thanks for your comment.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

    One of my favorite veggies - and didn't know you could eat the leaves, etc. Learn something new every day!

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    BPOP, Thanks for your comment.

  • breakfastpop profile image

    breakfastpop 7 years ago

    Sweet potatoes rock! Thanks for the great recipes.

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Jen's Solitude, I'm glad you learned about the potassium. I am going to have to try those sweet potato fries. Thanks for your comments.

  • Jen's Solitude profile image

    Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

    Excellent article about sweet potatoes Pam! I have discovered sweet potato fries, and of course I love sweet potato pie. I will remember the potassium level of these because it will come in handy when my potassium level gets depleted by medicine. Thanks!

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Money Glitch, I never thought about your turning orange by eating too many. Thanks for your comment.

  • Money Glitch profile image

    Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

    I love sweet potatoes and yams! Ate so many once that my skin started turning orange; seriously. So now I make sure to eat them only occasionally, but I really could eat them everyday. Thanks for providing such a great hub on a perfect food. :) Rating up!

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Katiem, I like them also and eat them at least once a week. Thanks for your comments.

  • katiem2 profile image

    katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

    I love sweet potatoes and this nutritious vegetable info def has me loving them more. That pic of pie has me wanting PIE really bad, pie is my favorite food. :)

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Anginwu, Since they are sweet I think they make a good snack. Thank you for your comments.

    Roberta, Thank you for your comments.

    Darlene, I agree you are a fan and friend also. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and thank you for your comments.

  • Darlene Sabella profile image

    Darlene Sabella 7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

    I love James Taylor and your hub, did you know that yams are what gives women estrogen, God has created everything for us in herbs, plants, and foods, its an awesome and fabulous hub. Your fan and friend....

  • Roberta99 profile image

    Roberta99 7 years ago

    Sweet potatoes I can live without except at Holiday time, then the casseroles are delicious.

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 7 years ago

    I love sweet potatoes. As a kid, my mother would steam them and offer them as snacks--since we were too poor to buy commercially produced snacks. I love them baked and will eat them just like that. I love all your pictures, they look so incredibly delicious. Nicely done and enjoyed the read. Rated it up.

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Ken, I am so glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for the comment.

    4FoodSafety, Thank you so much for the compliment and for your comments.

    Peacefulparadox, Thank you so much for your comments.

    Support Med, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for your comment.

  • Support Med. profile image

    Support Med. 7 years ago from Michigan

    That casserole with the marshmallow topping looks so good! I've never eaten them that way, but I may give it a try for the holidays. I usually just add a little butter, brown sugar, sprinkle a little nutmeg, sometimes cinnamon and sometimes lemon juice. I have some in my cabinet now. I did not realize how nutritious they are, good to know, I'll eat more of them. Voted-up/rated!

  • profile image

    peacefulparadox 7 years ago

    I always like sweet potatoes and yams -- but I have a hard time telling them apart. At first I thought that they were just two different names for the same thing. Thanks for clarifying their differences.

  • 4FoodSafety profile image

    Kelly Kline Burnett 7 years ago from Fontana, WI

    Outstanding and all about one of my favorites and often hard to find. I grew up with the marshmellows on the sweet potatoes - yum! I also have made the same recipes inside of a cutout of oranges - great taste and spectacular presentation.

    Great Hub! You set the standard high!

  • Ken R. Abell profile image

    Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

    Thank you for an informative & interesting Hub. I enjoyed it. And what's weird is, I had a baked sweet potato for supper last night.

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    K9keystrokes, That is what we did on Thanksgiving also. Thanks for your comment.

    Eileen, I'm glad you got some new ideas. Thanks for your comment.

    carolina, Thanks for adding some new information.

    MPG, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for your comment.

  • MPG Narratives profile image

    Marie Giunta 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    Sweet potatoes are one of my favourite vegetables but I didn't realise you could use them in so many different ways. I just bought some organic ones and will try them with some of your ideas soon. Thanks Pamela

  • carolina muscle profile image

    carolina muscle 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    It's great for keeping testosterone levels up in middle aged men, as well!! Great post!!!

  • Eileen Hughes profile image

    Eileen Hughes 7 years ago from Northam Western Australia

    pamela99, we often eat these but would never have thought of using it for a sweet and marshmallow topping too its amazing. thanks for sharing this one. rated up.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California

    My dad always made sweet potaoes at our holiday dinners. We had white mashed also, but for me, the sweet potaoes were the best. Really enjoyed the hub and I am shocked at just how nutrtious they are. Amazed at the potassium content...looks like the banana may have a competitor? Very enjoyable read Pam!

    ~always choose love~

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    teddletonmr, Thank you for your comments.

  • Teddletonmr profile image

    Mike Teddleton 7 years ago from Midwest USA

    Sweet potato frys, oven fried are great, dipped in a ranch dressing made using greek yogurt, that's gooooood...

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Nellieanna, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I like them cooked just plain also. Thanks for your comment.

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 7 years ago from TEXAS

    I don't know how you do it, Pamela! You keep writing about some of my favorite foods, especially of the produce type. There are so many lovely ways sweet potatos can grace a meal. The soup is out of this world. It's akin to butternut squash soup and pumpkin soup, both just divine.

    I know nothing better than a baked sweet potato with either few or more additives. It's so good by itself, it hardly needs any, but it can become a food for the gods & a different side dish - or main course - by the addition of various kinds of seasoning and toppings. If adding anything, I usually prefer just aa little butter & a little salt & pepper. Also love it with curry & that genre of seasonings.

    Of course -it's already sweet and takes very kindly to brown sugar or honey and marshmallows or whipped cream or cream cheese. To me it's a dessert, though. Its nutrients & health benefits are many - and without too many extras, it makes a very satisfying low calorie main course. Add a nice salad and - voila. It feels "full" and satisfying!

    drbj - have you tasted the sweet potato chips? They are really incredibly good. Popular at Santa Fe type Mexican restaurants, served along with blue corn chips and regular tortilla chips with salsas.

    These are great recipes and ideas, Pamela! I have one in my crisper - maybe tonight's the night to bake it! Or even make it by some other process! :-)

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    2besure Thank you for your comment.

    drbj, Everyone's taste is different. I started liking sweet potatoes more as an adult. Thanks for your comment.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

    Hi, Pamela. I didn't think I would ever like sweet potatoes whole or mashed - and I still don't. But here's what is strange (or maybe it's me). I love sweet potato fries - just like French fries but made with sweet potatoes. They are the Best!

  • 2besure profile image

    Pamela Lipscomb 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    I simply love sweet potatoes and they are a much healthier starch then white potatoes.

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Hello, Thank you for your comments.

    Tom, I like them also. Thanks for your comment.

  • Tom Whitworth profile image

    Tom Whitworth 7 years ago from Moundsville, WV

    Pamela,

    I used to think I didn't like sweet potatos until I tried them now I love them . I even like them mashed like white potatos.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

    I had once because I kept about them. Maybe I didn't do it right but I wasn't impressed. Nevertheless, it is a well written hub with good tips of various ways to use them.

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Rev Lady, Sorry you don't like them but maybe you know someone who does.Thank you so much for your comments.

  • RevLady profile image

    RevLady 7 years ago from Lantana, Florida

    Seems like great recipes and suggestions but I detest sweet potatoes.

    Forever His,