Harvest Time for Sweet Potatoes
El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.
Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.
English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.
Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.Collapse ▲
The harvesting of sweet potatoes is a common sight in Eastern North Carolina now during the fall season. Sweet potatoes are a bragging point in our region with North Carolina being number one for sweet potato production in the United States. North Carolina produces 50% of the sweet potatoes in the United States. There are some 350 commercial sweet potato farmers in North Carolina. In 2013, 53,000 acres of sweet potatoes were grown in North Carolina for a total of 212 billion individual sweet potatoes with a farm gate value of $228.9 million. North Carolina even designated the sweet potato as the official state vegetable in 1995.
Did you know that the sweet potato is no potato? The plant is a member of the morning glory family, and it produces bulging food-storage roots that are edible. In contrast, the white (Irish) potato plant is a nightshade family member that produces swollen underground stems called tubers. Sweet potatoes are grown in warmer climates, while white potatoes dominate in cool climate areas.
Sweet potatoes come in many different colors like orange, white, yellow, red, and purple. The taste, texture, flavor, and nutritional content differs among the varieties. Orange sweet potatoes are the sweetest of them all.
Central Americans were raising sweet potatoes when Christopher Columbus first landed on their shores in 1942. He liked the vegetable so much that on his fourth voyage, he took some home to grow in Europe.
In the United States, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes have been mistakenly called yams for so long that both names are becoming accepted usage. The United States Department of Agriculture still requires, however, that food labels with the term “yam” be accompanied by the words “sweet potato.” True yams are starchy, underground tubers that historical artifacts indicate were a food crop in Africa at least 50,000 years ago. Unlike sweet potatoes, yams have rough, scaly skin, and they are not sweet. Grown in tropical zones, yams also can reach up to 6 feet long and weigh more than 150 pounds.
Considered a superfood, sweet potatoes serve as an excellent source of vitamins A and C, contain more fiber than a bowl of oatmeal and more beta carotene than 23 cups of broccoli, and are free of cholesterol, fat, and gluten. One medium sweet potato has just 103 calories, and despite their name sweet potatoes are diabetic friendly, causing no blood sugar spike. Sweet potatoes should never be refrigerated unless they are cooked. Temperatures below 55°F damage the quality and destroy the flavor, causing them to become bitter.
Be sure to include fresh, local sweet potatoes with your fall and holiday meals. Several vendors at the Farm Credit Farmers Market now have sweet potatoes for sell. The market is open on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The market is located behind The Maxwell Center at 3114 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro.
Jessica Strickland is an Agriculture Extension Agent, specializing in horticulture for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Wayne County.
- Sign up for the Wayne County Extension Gardening email list to learn about upcoming workshops and receive timely gardening tips.
- “Like” us on Facebook to receive timely garden tips, ask questions, and learn of upcoming gardening events.