Sweet Potatoes 101

Sweet potatoes are as American as apple pie! Native Americans were growing sweet potatoes when Columbus came in 1492, and by the 16th century, sweet potatoes were being cultivated in the southern states, where they became a staple in the traditional cuisine.

Today, sweet potatoes are used in cuisines all over the world as a satisfying and versatile vegetable with a well-earned reputation for nutrition. Their health properties make them a wholesome option for children, adults, diabetics and anyone interested in improving their health. With their delicious sweetness and mild flavor, sweet potatoes take to a variety of ethnic seasonings, making them a go-to ingredient no matter what the season.

North Carolina’s hot, moist climate and rich, fertile soil are ideal for cultivating sweet potatoes, making North Carolina the No. 1 state in the United States for sweet potato production*. With few natural enemies, pesticides are rarely used and after harvesting, the sweet potatoes undergo a 10-day curing process that converts the starches to sugars. This sweetness intensifies as the sweet potato is cooked, creating the deep caramel flavor we love.

*For more industry statistics, please visit our Industry section.

© 2014 North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission | Site created by: CRT/tanaka