Where is the word from ?
The word is from the Taino word for them was batatas which eventually became patata in Spanish, patae in French, and potato in English. At that time, potato referred to the sweet potato, and not the generic white potato as it does in English nowadays.
The Sweet potato was the first potato that was brought back to Europe, before the regular potato
What kind of a plant is a sweet potato ?
The sweet potato is a tuber from the Morning Glory family. The leaves are actually edible unlike a regular potato , which is from the nightshade family.
For more of the Botanical information go here.
Some different Varieties of the Sweet Potato
This is a popular lighter colored sweet potato you see
In the marketplace
This is a Beuregard, it is darker colored, that is sweeter, moister. This was a break through variety, because
In 1987, Dr. Larry Ralston, developed a more insect-resistant sweet potato, that made a failing crop finally profitable for Texas and Louisiana.
More about Sweet Potato varieties here
Why do they call a dark orange sweet potato a Yam in the United States if it isn't a Yam?
African slaves in the Southeast United States called the sweet potato "nyami" because it reminded them of the starchy, edible tuber of that name that grew in their homeland. The Senegalese word "nyami" was eventually shortened to the word "yam".
The Sweet Potato farmers in Louisiana back in the 50's grew a dark orange variety of sweet potato that differed from the yellow sweet potato grown on the east coast.To differentiate their variety that was sweeter, moister and so much better for pies than the yellow mealy ones they chose the name Yam for marketing purposes. The name stuck and still being used.
George Washington Carver has to be credited with much of the progress with Sweet Potatoes. It was a crop that could be grown in the depleted cotton farm soil.
Dr. Carve also invented many uses for the sweet potato other than food.
What is a Yam then?
A Yam is different from a sweet potato. Instead of being in the Morning Glory family , they are from the Lilly family.
There are other botanical differences as well.
The Yam originated in Africa, unlike the sweet potato in Central and South America. It is more starchy than the sweet potato, different also in flavor and it also grows up to 4 feet in length.
Find out more about the Yam
Does the Sweet Potato have a lot of nutrition?
YES! from Wikipedia...
Besides simple starches, sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta carotene (a vitamin A equivalent nutrient), vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Pink, yellow and green varieties are high in carotene, the precursor of vitamin A.
In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. Considering fiber content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium, the sweet potato ranked highest in nutritional value. According to these criteria, sweet potatoes earned 184 points, 100 points over the next on the list, the common potato.
Sweet potato varieties with dark orange flesh have more beta carotene than those with light-colored flesh, and their increased cultivation is being encouraged in Africa, where vitamin A deficiency is a serious health problem. Despite the name "sweet", it may be a beneficial food for diabetics, as preliminary studies on animals have revealed it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and to lower insulin resistance.
The Greens of the Sweet Potato are also edible
unlike the ones of the regular potato.
The Delicious Truth
Ruth Chris Sweet Potato Casserole
Vanilla Baked Sweet Potatoes
baked with vanilla syrup and flavored with zest of orange
Whipped Sweet Potatoes
with nutmeg and Cinnamon
Sweet Potatoes with Apricots and Pecans
Tara Smith Blog
The Louisiana Sweet Potato page
The Sweetpotato By Gad Loebenstein, George Thottappilly