The Sweet potato, De Zoete aardappel

The sweet potato. Until a few years ago you heard little about it.
I got to know this vegetable when I was with my friend in Australia in 2001. We ate ‘sweet potato mash with chicken honey & soy’. A whole new world opened up for me. How nice that was! I ate them in the white aa well as orange version, both equally tasty.
Once back in the Netherlands I immediately went looking for this tasty vegetable and yes, I found it!
Now I must admit that in the first few weeks after I came back I regularly ate these sweet potatoes, sweet potato, sweet sweet potato, yam or whatever you want to call them. But after a while I just forgot. Simply because I didn’t think about it anymore and because during my work as a producer I didn’t really want to cook at home, let alone eat. A few years later I ran into this beautiful vegetable again and now we eat it at least twice a week at home. In all kinds of variants; cooked, grilled, baked, mashed. Just what we feel like.
At BitterSweetz I like to use the sweet potato for a soup and of course this is a main ingredient in the Sweet Potato & Chickpea Burger. It is delicious!

But what is it?

The sweet potato bears the name potato, but is actually not a family of the nightshade family but of the bindweed family. It is more of an inulin-containing tuber. The inulin ensures that your body digests this more slowly than the starch that you find in the normal potato. And this in turn ensures a constant blood sugar level.

What are the health benefits of the sweet potato?

Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and contain many vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium and selenium. Moreover, they are a good source of many types of vitamin B and vitamin C. One of the main nutritional benefits of a sweet potato is that they are rich in an antioxidant known as beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in your body.

What colors are there?

Sweet potatoes come in many different varieties and colors. We are most familiar with the orange sweet potato. In addition to Europe, these are often eaten in America. The white-fleshy sweet potatoes are mainly eaten in Asian and Arab countries. The colors can vary widely. Taken all over the world, the orange sweet potato is most used. The American variety covington is the most sold in the Netherlands. This happens because the shell of this variety is extremely firm, which makes transport (export) easier. There are also purple sweet potatoes. The most popular is the ube. This purple sweet potato is used a lot in desserts for its very sweet taste. And then we also have the white sweet potato. These white sweet sweet potatoes usually come from America. They are mainly from California (Bonita). The murasaki variety is the most cultivated. This sweet potato contains a white flesh with yellow components. However, this white sweet potato is not easy to find.
And then a nice fact: there are more than 1000 different species (varieties)! That’s a lot, right ?!

Because many people still think that the sweet potato is related to the potato, this beautiful vegetable is often avoided in the diet. Very unfortunate, because there are many health benefits. As you can read in several blogs, many people think that eating sweet potatoes results in a weight gain. On the internet you will find a wide range of articles stating that it is sometimes thicker.

What can we say about it?

Sweet potatoes contain complex carbohydrates. These are released gradually into our body, so that relatively few blood sugar fluctuations occur. In addition, it contains resistant starches and many dietary fibers. This causes a slow burning of the carbohydrates so that you get a saturated feeling and hold it longer. A longer saturation has a very beneficial effect on maintaining a healthy weight. The antioxidants in sweet potato consist of the substances adiponectin in combination with lectin. These substances can promote weight loss. They help with energy requirements by breaking down fat stored in body cells. So that.