One Potato, Two Potato, Sweet Potato, More...

This rockstar root makes the grade thanks to its content of vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamins C, E, and B6, folic acid, potassium, and dietary fiber. A medium-sized sweet potato is packed with more than 360% of the daily value of vitamin A, which is vital for eye health. Other research suggests that the beta-carotene present may help prevent cancer by promoting cell health. Just a half-cup of sweet potatoes delivers more of this antioxidant than 12 cups of broccoli! It’s easy to make this Thanksgiving guest a more frequent visitor to your plate; simply replace regular baked, mashed or fry versions with this nutrient-packed potato instead. For quick, delicious sweet potato fries that can accompany any meal, see our recipe below. 

Oven-baked Sweet Potato Fries

2 medium to large sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil or grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Wash sweet potatoes well and pat dry.

  3. Mix together chili powder, cumin and salt.

  4. Cut potatoes into long thin strips (French fry-style).

  5. Use ½ tablespoon oil to coat a baking sheet.

  6. Spread fries in a single layer on the baking sheet and mix with remaining oil and spice mixture. If you or the kids opt for plainer, just toss with 1 teaspoon of sea salt instead.

  7. Bake 25 minutes or until soft. Makes 4, 1-cup servings.

Here are a few more sensational sweet potato facts:

  • Do you know the difference between a sweet potato and a yam? Though the two names are used interchangeably in conversation, they are actually two totally different vegetables from completely different regions, and, in fact, are only distantly related. While both are root vegetables, sweet potatoes are native to South America and very popular in the Southern USA. They have yellow or orange outer skins and are elongated with tapered ends. Inside, they have a vivid orange flesh that is moist and sweet. Yams come from a tropical vine traced to Asia and Africa and unlike sweet potatoes, have thick skin and flesh that is white, orange, or purple. Nutrient-wise, yams have less vitamin a and c than sweet potatoes, but taste a tad sweeter.

  • Good news for nightshade avoiders: Sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory plant family and are actually only distantly related to the potato, so they are not a nightshade.

  • No need to store sweet potatoes in the fridge. You can keep them in a pretty basket at room temp and just scrub prior to cooking. Be sure to enjoy the skins.

  • North Carolina is the leading sweet potato supplier in the US, producing almost half of the national supply.

  • Scientist and inventor George Washington Carver developed 118 different products from sweet potatoes, including a glue for postal stamps!

  • Sweet potatoes were the main source of nourishment for soldiers during the Revolutionary War.

  • Sweet potatoes have been around since prehistoric times and some scientists believe that dinosaurs may have eaten a tater or two. How’s that for paleo friendly?