Sweet Potatoes

Native to Central and South America, sweet potatoes have been consumed for thousands of years. In 1492, Christopher Columbus returned to Spain from his first expedition, bringing the sweet potato back with him. From there, the sweet potato spread across Europe, and to Africa, India, Indonesia, and southern Asia by the Portuguese.

Nearly 100 million tons of sweet potatoes are produced yearly, with China as the number one producer at 80 million tons.

Contrary to popular belief, sweet potatoes and yams are not the same vegetable. They are members of completely different plant families, native to different areas.

Common:

  • Beauregard
  • Covinton

White-Fleshed:

  • O’Henry

Japanese:

  • Murasaki
  • Okinawa
Only one serving of sweet potaotes has over four times the recommended daily allowance of beta carotene.

Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin A, and a good source of vitamin C, copper, and vitamin B6.

Additionally, Ontario sweet potatoes are full of fibre, and are fat and cholesterol-free.

Choose firm sweet potatoes, free of cracks, bruises, or soft spots. Do not select from refrigerated sections of the supermarket, and the cold negatively impacts the sweet potato.
Keep in a cool, dry, dark place, for up to 10 days. Sweet potatoes are sensitive to cold, however, and the core will harden when stored in the refrigerator.
Peel conventionally grown sweet potatoes before eating, as sometimes the skins are treated with dye and wax. Cook immediately after peeling or cutting.

Sweet potatoes can be baked, roasted, microwaved, steamed, boiled, sauteed, or grilled.

sweet potatoes
Seasonal Availability
Year-round

Nutrition per 1/2 sweet potato (57 g), baked:

Nutrient Value
Calories 57
Protein 1 g
Carbohydrates 12 g
Total Sugar 5 g
Total Dietary Fibre 1.9 g
Calcium 22 mg
Iron 0.4 mg
Sodium 21 mg
Potassium 271 mg
Magnesium 15 mg
Vitamin C 11 mg

Provided by Health Canada