Enjoy The Sweet Life with Sweet Potatoes!
Sweet potatoes are a major staple of fall and winter, and for good reason – they’re delicious! They’re also incredibly versatile, come in a variety of types, and have a unique history. Read on for sweet potato information that we hope will serve you and your customers this holiday season!
Sweet Potato Guide
There are five main types of sweet potato that are commonly consumed today—Garnet, Hannah, Japanese, Jewel, and Purple Stoke. While all are delicious, each variety has its own distinct flavor and texture that lends itself to a variety of cooking applications. They are also high in vitamin A and potassium, and are a low glycemic food!
All these varieties are available for purchase!
Talk to your account manager to get set up, or learn how to become a customer.
Garnet Sweet Potato
Garnets have dusty brown maroon colored skin which happens to be the inspiration behind its name. Inside, the flesh is a brilliant golden orange. It is starchier and moister than other varieties and offers mild sweet flavor with savory earthiness. These are great for baking, casseroles, and mashing.
Hannah Sweet Potato
Hannah Sweets are cream colored with fairly smooth skin. Inside, the flesh is cream-white that becomes more yellow when cooked. It offers a lightly sweet flavor with dry texture that is great mashed, roasted in pieces, or turned into fries.
Japanese Sweet Potato (Murasaki)
Japanese sweet potatoes, which includes the Murasaki variety, have reddish-purple skin with whitish flesh that turns golden when cooked. Its shape is more round than cylindrical. The flavor is very sweet and the texture is fairly firm. We think these taste best roasted or steamed.
Jewel Sweet Potato (Covington)
Jewels, which includes the Covington variety, have copper colored skin and deep orange flesh. When cooked, this sweet potato takes on a moist, fluffy texture and offers mildly sweet taste with subtle earthiness. This is a good all-purpose sweet potato. The moist flesh is good for boiling, baking, and adding to casseroles.
Purple Stokes Sweet Potato
Purple Stokes have a vibrant deep purple skin and purple flesh inside. Dryer, denser and richer in texture than other varieties, it offers a balanced sweetness with floral notes. It contains high levels of antioxidants making it one of the most nutritious varieties. The dryer texture of this potato lends better to high moisture cooking methods such as steaming, boiling, roasting or frying. They can also be used for baking but note that recipes with baking soda may turn this purple potato green!
Check out our ready-to-print shelf talkers for five varieties of Sweet Potatoes!
Use these 3″x5″ signs to educate staff and excite customers.
Top Tip: These shelf talkers suggest ways that each sweet potato variety can be prepared, such as mashed or roasted. Make sure to cross-sell items that will help customers prepare the sweet potatoes, such as a potato masher, olive oil, or brown sugar.
Meet Our Sweet Potato Growers
Grows: Hannah, Garnet, Japanese, Jewel
Grows: Dianne, Japanese, Jewel, Purple
Pacific Union Produce
Merced County, California
Grows: Beauregard, Bellevue, Diane, Garnet, Japanese
Sea to Sky Farm
Northern Santa Cruz County- Bonny Doon, CA
Grows: Garnet, Jewel, and Purple Murasaki Sweet Potato, Hot Pepper, Herb
History of the Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes originated in the tropical regions of Central and South America. The natives called the plant batatas, which eventually became patata in Spanish, patae in French, and potato in English.
The sweet potato was brought to Spain in the 1500s but never gained popularity across Europe. Cultivation was tried in Belgium and England without much success. Sweet potatoes thrive in a hot, moist climate and northern European weather was not well suited to grow the crop.
Even though sweet potatoes had been in Europe since Columbus, the term ‘sweet potato’ didn’t exist until the 1700’s. American colonists wanted to distinguish between the white or Irish potato, and what we now call sweet potatoes, so they coined the term. Before that they were all just called potatoes!
Sweet Potato Merchandising Tips
- Create big, bountiful displays to draw attention and increase sales. Sweet potatoes are hardy and can be piled high.
- Maintaining fresh displays is important to keep these items moving. Sweet potato displays don’t need to be rotated every day, but should be checked daily for soft, breakdown, or sprouting product.
- Sweet potatoes come in a variety of color. Take advantage of this by making eye catching color breaks.
- Inspire your customers by posting recipes, and cross-selling items needed to make said recipes. Some classic sweet potato fixings are brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and marshmallows.
- Use retail signage to inform you customers about how to store sweet potatoes, what different varieties are best suited for, and fun flavor notes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is sweet potato a vegetable?
Yes, the sweet potato is a root vegetable.
Can you eat sweet potato skin?
Yes, you can eat sweet potato skin. Not only will this save you prep time and add a unique texture to the dish, but there are nutritional benefits to leaving the skin on. In fact, more than half the fiber found in a sweet potato is in the skin!
How do you cook a sweet potato?
Sweet potatoes can be prepared any number of ways: boiled, steamed, roasted, baked, or fried! However, not all sweet potatoes are the same. Some varieties are more moist, which makes them ideal for mashing and baking. Drier varieties are better for roasting and frying.
Check out some delicious recipes below:
Creamy Cheesy Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
What’s the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?
Sweet potatoes are not a type of yam, and yams are not a type of sweet potato. They are both root vegetables that come from a flowering plant, but they are not related.
A yam is a starchy root that is native to Africa and Asia. They are cylindrical in shape and have rough brownish bark-like skin. The flesh is white, purple or reddish. Compared to sweet potatoes, yams are lower in beta carotene, starchier, and drier. Compared to sweet potatoes, yams taste less sweet. True yams can be difficult to find in the United States and are more likely to be sold in international or ethnic food stores.
The sweet potato is part of the morning glory family. There are several varieties and the flesh and skin ranges in color from white to yellow to orange to purple. The varieties can be grouped together into two major types; (1) firm, which have golden skin and paler flesh or (2) soft, which have copper skin and orange flesh. The firm variety was the first to be produced in the U.S., so when “soft” sweet potatoes began to be produced commercially, there was a need to differentiate it from its firm counterpart. Since the “soft” sweet potatoes slightly resemble true yams, the name was picked up and became what you see commonly labeled as “yams” in grocery stores.
Which sweet potato is the sweetest?
Sweetest is subjective but relatively speaking, Garnets and Hannahs are mildly sweet. Purple and Jewels are moderately sweet and the Japanese variety tend to be the sweetest.