Since the beginning of 2022, I have consumed more sweet potatoes than I weigh. Average American eats closer to the equivalent From one (1) fry a day, but over the past decade, I’ve had at least half a pound of roots at almost every dinner. I travel with sweet potatoes more reliably than I do with my wife. All I need in order to eat is a microwave and something to relieve my hands from the heat.
Tomorrow, Americans will finally put their sweet potatoes in the spotlight—and they still don’t appreciate all that they’re worth. Families across the country will smother the roots in sugar and butter under a crunchy marshmallow crust. This may be a classic casserole Just Some people serve sweet potatoes all year round – a travesty in quantity and style of preparation (sorry). Sweet potatoes deserve much more than their Thanksgiving serving. And perhaps they will understand it, if they are not misunderstood.
For starters, a sweet potato is neither a potato nor a potato. each belongs to Distinguished family of plants. And although potatoes and yams are technically tubers, sweet potatoes are a modified root. The common name doesn’t exactly help, which is why many experts want to change it from it sweet potato to me … sweet potato. Even in grocery stores, confusion reigns. A small part of Lauren Eserman-Campbell, geneticist and sweet potato expert at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, dies every time she unearths a can of Bruce’s Yams.
For the most part, sweet potatoes in American markets are similar to Bruce’s (not) yams: orange-fleshed, brown-skinned, sugary, and moist. But the real range of the plant is much more diverse. The exterior comes in earthy, red, violet-red and sandy beige numbers; The interior can be cream, buttercup yellow, cantaloupe, lilac, and even a shade of mauve that verges on black. Some are somewhat watery. Others are dry and grilled like bread. Not all of them are even tangible sweet. And thanks to the plant’s zany genetics—six copies of each of its 15 chromosomes—virtually every combination of color, texture, taste, shape, and sugar and water content can emerge from a cross between, say, a dry, veiny purple and a moist, smooth-skinned orange. If given enough time, Craig Yinshaw, a sweet potato breeder and geneticist at North Carolina State University, tells me, “I can find sweet potatoes that are pleasing to almost any consumer.”
The common misconception that potatoes are fattening and devoid of nutrition (Slander!) might make some people assume the same or worse than sweet potatoes. But this could not be further from the truth. Plot its nutritional profile against other staple crops, such as rice, wheat and maize — all of which command a larger share of the global market — and in many respects, “the sweet potato is ahead,” says Samuel Acheampong, a geneticist at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. Orange-fleshed varieties, in particular, are full of iron, zinc and beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. Fleas are rich in anticancer anthocyanins. Even sweet potato leaves are a powerhouse, packed with folic acid and a surprising amount of protein. Also, it’s delicious fried.
Sweet potatoes only tend to catch America’s attention in November, but they’re tough, resilient, and ubiquitous enough to be an anytime, anywhere staple. It has taken root on every continent, except Antarctica. It was launched into space. Acre per acre, sweet potatoes also produce an edible crop much more efficiently than many other plants do, “and that’s really important in families who don’t have enough quality food,” says Robert Mwanga, a sweet potato geneticist based in Uganda. , as some locals eat the roots for almost every meal. In Kenya, sweet potatoes have sustained communities when other crops have failed. Among some populations, the roots have He was given a suitable nickname: our father cileraBaby protector.
But even among scientists, sweet potatoes have, if not, a hit bad The rap, at least is disappointing. “It’s a small community, and there’s not a lot of funding,” Isserman-Campbell told me. “I once went to a sweet potato breeder’s meeting, and I just thought there were going to be more people.” It doesn’t help that plants can be a bit of a genetic pain, Muwanga told me. The many copied chromosomes make reproduction difficult, and the new sweet potato cultivars can only be propagated by clonal cuttings. Among consumers, the sweet potato has also struggled to shed its reputation as a poor food, turned to in times of famine or war and culturally associated with low-income rural farmers.
people in the western world We are catch up—especially now that sweet potatoes are being touted as a superfood by nutritionists, says Anna Rita Simoes, a taxonomist at Kew Gardens in London. In the past decade, the demand for Yencho’s sweet potatoes has tripled, and possibly quintupled. “I’ve never seen a crop like this explode,” he said.
Despite this, the Americans still batted in the sweet potato minor leagues. The big hitter remains Thanksgiving casserole—a dish that Acheampong loves but is still a bit mystifying. “You’re adding too much sugar,” he told me, which was amusing, considering the orange-fleshed varieties are actually quite sweet. In addition, the casserole is (gasp) under the thumb of the big dessert: its invention was commissioned as part of a stunt Sell more marshmallows. It’s sugar all the way.
I am not here to kill anyone. I’m celebrating Which A dish containing sweet potatoes. Even better, however, is to cast these gorgeous roots in the title role. In other parts of the world, sweet potato recipes range from sweet to savory, and from appetizers to main desserts. It’s mashed, fried, stir-fried with noodles; It is mixed into soups, drinks, and pastries. They even found their way vintage. Imagine how they would decorate our Thanksgiving tables: roasted sweet potatoes; Roasted Sweet Potatoes Turkey Sweet Potatoes – I mean, why not.
Or maybe there’s a more modest suggestion to be made: Enjoy the roots on their own. Yinzhou, like me, my origins; He loves plain sweet potatoes, baked until tender, no seasoning needed. They just don’t need anything else.