The sweet potato is a perennial plant grown in tropical and subtropical regions such as Central America, Peru or the Philippines. It is cultivated for its edible tubers.
Depending on the variety, the skin and flesh of the sweet potato can be white, yellow, orange or purple.
Characteristics of sweet potato
- Rich in fiber;
- Low glycemic index;
- Rich in vitamin A, B6, B9 and C;
- Rich in copper and manganese;
- Reduces the risk of cancer and cardiovascular pathologies;
- Improves liver functions.
Nutritional and caloric values of sweet potato
For 100 g of sweet potato:
|Dietary fiber||2,9 g|
|Sodium chloride salt||0,079 g|
|Beta carotene||10500 µg|
|Vitamin E||0,83 mg|
|Vitamin K1||2,2 µg|
|Vitamin C||16,2 mg|
|Vitamin B1 or Thiamine||0,082 mg|
|Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin||0,077 mg|
|Vitamin B3 or PP or Niacin||1,01 mg|
|Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic Acid||0,73 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0,23 mg|
|Vitamin B9 or Total Folates||6 µg|
An average caloric content of 62.8 Cal/100 g. Water, fiber, starch and above all a remarkable richness in beta-carotene.
The benefits of sweet potato: why eat it?
Colorful to perfection, the sweet potato has many benefits.
Moderately caloric thanks to its low protein and lipid content, it is suitable for people wishing to lose weight.
Low glycemic index
The glycemic index of the sweet potato is 70 and that of the regular potato varies between 80 and 111 depending on the variety. Consuming foods with a low glycemic index can help people with diabetes, or who are at risk, to decrease insulin resistance and improve blood sugar control.
Source of fiber
Rich in fiber which will have the role of regulating gastrointestinal function, lowering cholesterol levels and managing blood sugar.
Rich in vitamin A
Rich in vitamin A which contributes to the growth of bones and teeth, maintains healthy skin and protects against infections. In addition, it plays an antioxidant role and promotes good vision, especially in the dark.
Source of antioxidants
Rich in carotenoids, antioxidants that will fight against free radicals.
Reduced risk of cancer and improved liver function thanks to anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants, it contains.
Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Thanks to the phenolic compounds and anthocyanins it contains, sweet potato could prevent and reduce the oxidation of “bad” cholesterol (LDL), a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Stimulation of the immune response thanks to antioxidants.
Slowing of the deterioration of cognitive functions which would be due to the high content of antioxidants.
To take full advantage of the benefits of sweet potato, you can eat it raw in carpaccio or remoulade. So you will take full advantage of its vitamins and minerals which will not be degraded by cooking.
Choosing the right sweet potato
The sweet potato is composed of a fibrous flesh that can be of different colors (white, yellow, orange or purple) and a thick skin that is also colored (orange or purple). It has an elongated shape reminiscent of a potato.
sweet potato id card
- Season: October to March;
- Family: Convolvulaceae;
- Origin: South America;
- Color: white, yellow, orange or purple;
- Flavor: sweet
Purchase of sweet potato
Sweet potatoes can be found in most grocery stores.
Differences with related foods
The sweet potato is close to the potato yet they have different compositions. Indeed, the sweet potato contains 50% more fiber than the potato and its glycemic index is much lower. In addition, the coloring substances, which are antioxidants, of the sweet potato are not found in the potato.
The different varieties
The color of their flesh ranges from creamy white to purple through orange and red. From a nutritional point of view, varieties with orange or purple flesh are preferable. The flesh should be firm, with no soft spots or cracks.
Keep it well
The sweet potato can be stored in a cool, dark and airy place, it will keep for 7 to 10 days.
Sweet potato preparation
The sweet potato, like the yam, lends itself to the same culinary uses as the potato.
How to cook it? How to match it?
Its flesh, much sweeter than that of the potato, makes it possible to make entremets, marmalades, puddings, biscuits, cakes, ice creams, pancakes and other desserts.
- As an accompaniment vegetable, cook them in water. Or, make thick slices and brown them in a pan. Cook until the inside is tender, then season with a fresh herb;
- Integrate sweet potato cubes into the couscous;
- For soups or veloutés, cook the sweet potato cubes in chicken broth and blend. Add fresh cream or yoghurt, a squeeze of lime and ginger;
- To make roast patties, grate the tubers and finely chop an onion. Squeeze in a cloth to extract the juice. Mix with eggs and flour and fry in a pan. If desired, season the preparation with cumin, hot peppers and curry;
- Incorporate sweet potato flesh into fish purees, such as brandade, a mixture of flaked cod, oil, cream and garlic;
- Caribbean style. Cook the tubers cut into cubes with onion and pieces of squash in coconut milk seasoned with cloves, cinnamon and salt;
- In Africa, a crispy flatbread is made by mixing equal parts wheat flour and the cooked flesh of sweet potatoes. The dough is then divided into portions, flattened and cooked in a frying pan, either dry or with a little oil;
- The leaves and stems are eaten like spinach.
History of the sweet potato
The term “potato” appeared in our language in 1599. It derives from the Spanish batata, which borrowed it from one of the many languages spoken by the Arawaks, natives of the central region of the Americas. The latter were notably settled in the West Indies at the time of the Conquest and they were, of course, sweet potato consumers.
The word “potato” is in principle sufficient to designate the tuber of Ipomoea batatas. But we generally take the trouble to add the adjective “sweet” or “sweet” so as not to confuse it with the potato which, under the influence of English, is often called “patate”.
It was long believed that the sweet potato came from India, and some still say so. It is that this plant was probably cultivated on the Indian subcontinent before the 16th century. However, archaeological excavations carried out in Peruvian sites – where the oldest vestiges date from 8,000 years before our era – indicate that it is indeed native to South America. It’s not known if these are cultivated varieties, but if they were, the sweet potato would likely be the first plant to be domesticated in the New World, if not the planet. The wild ancestor of this species has never been found, although those of other species of the genus Ipomoea have been found.
The sweet potato was introduced by the Spaniards and the Portuguese in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia after the conquest of the New World. On the other hand, it was introduced in Oceania well before the discovery of America, perhaps around 1500 BC. It would have traveled west by taking South American and then Polynesian boats to gradually settle on all the Pacific islands, where it has long been part of the basic diet. Another hypothesis is that its seeds could have been spread by birds, including the Polynesian golden plover, known to be an occasional visitor to the western coasts of South America. of
Today, the sweet potato is grown in all tropical countries, where it is an important food resource. In several places, it is also fed to livestock.
Organic gardening sweet potato
Although the sweet potato is native to the tropics, researchers have bred varieties that can be grown in the north with relative success. Very decorative, the plant is also grown in flower beds. Propagation is by cuttings. You can get the cuttings from a specialist or take them yourself from one or more plants that you have kept in a pot indoors during the winter. It will then suffice to put them in water until they have formed good roots.
Transplant the seedlings as soon as they are delivered or keep them in water until it is possible to put them in the ground, that is to say when the danger of frost has passed. Choose a sunny, warm and weed-free location. Make knobs of loose soil to promote the growth of tubers.
The pH should be between 5 and 6.5. Apply an organic phosphate and potassium fertilizer. Avoid nitrogen which risks favoring the stems to the detriment of the tubers. Make sure that the irrigation is constant, but avoid that the plants have their feet in water.
Harvesting is done when the frost blackens the leaves or when the temperature drops below 10 ºC. Mature the tubers for 1 week.