The sweet potato (kumara in NZ) is tuber-producing plant related to the morning glory. The flesh of the tuber can be white, yellow, orange, or purple. Sweet potatoes are often confused with potatoes and yams, which are not the same at all.
Sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C and vitamin B6. Orange-colored varieties are also rich in beta carotene. In tropical areas they are a staple food crop. The tubers are most frequently boiled, fried or baked. Tubers can also be processed to make starch and a partial flour substitute.
The tubers, leaves and shoots are all edible. Some variants are sold as house plants for their beautiful flowers; these plants will produce sweet potatoes. The plants tend to be large vines.
Farmers in the Southern United States started using the term "yam" to distinguish between the softer orange variety and the drier white variety. The true yam is rarely found in the United States except as an import. Sweet potatoes sold in the USA must be labeled "yam sweet potato" or simply "sweet potato", not "yam"; they may be incorrectly labeled in stores though.
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Sweet potatoes are harvested at the end of summer or the start of autumn. Roots that aren't sold directly are cured by keeping them in a humid place at 30°C (85°F) for five to six days. Uncured sweet potatoes have a starchier texture and less sweet flavor than cured specimens. Uncured sweet potatoes are sold in the first few months after harvest. Cured ones are sold throughout the year, up until the next harvest
Sweet Potato RecipesEdit
The following recipes feature sweet potato as a main ingredient: