Did you know that there are over 400 sweet potato varieties in the world? Although their flavors may differ, all of them are starchy vegetables with inherent sweetness. So, if you are drawn to these vegetables because of their delicious sweetness, you may want to know, what is the sweetest potato?
Beauregard sweet potatoes are by far the sweetest potatoes. They are large, with thick reddish-purple skin and juicy orange flesh. Jewel sweet potatoes are also sweet, though not as sweet as Beauregard potatoes. Other deliciously sweet potatoes are Covington and the Japanese Satsuma-imo potatoes.
Let’s talk about this in more detail now.
- Why Are Sweet Potatoes Sweet?
- Which Variety Of Sweet Potatoes Is The Sweetest?
- Which Sweet Potatoes Are Best For Baking?
- How To Choose And Store Sweet Potatoes?
- Sweet vs. Regular Potatoes: Which Is Better?
Why Are Sweet Potatoes Sweet?
Most culinary ingredients that taste sweet are fruits. The sweet potato is an exception.
This root vegetable is a rich source of starch, just like regular potatoes. However, they turn very sweet when cooked.
When you heat sweet potatoes, their starch breaks down. Heat also activates certain enzymes in sweet potatoes.
These enzymes convert their chalky starch into maltose. Maltose is a type of sugar that tastes very sweet.
When it’s released, you end up with deliciously sweet and soft sweet potatoes.
Now, the cooking method affects the sweetness of the resulting sweet potato.
Slow cooking or baking at a low temperature will give the enzyme more time to act on the starch and make them very sweet.
Sweet potatoes prepared using other cooking techniques, like steaming or roasting, will not be as sweet.
Which Variety Of Sweet Potatoes Is The Sweetest?
There are a staggering variety of sweet potatoes, and all aren’t created equal.
Depending on the variety, their skin color can be white, red, yellow, purple, or brown.
The inner flesh can also be orange, purple, white, or brown.
Physical differences aside, these sweet potatoes also differ in terms of flavor profile and texture.
The orange-colored varieties are more popular in the West.
Meanwhile, white sweet potatoes find more use in Asia and Middle-Eastern cooking.
Let’s look at the most commonly available varieties amongst these to understand them better.
Beauregard Sweet Potato
Beauregard is the most commonly available sweet potato in US markets.
They have reddish skin and rich orange flesh.
They are sweet and very juicy. When cooked, their flesh becomes very soft and loses its bite completely.
These sweet potatoes mash well and work in various recipes.
Beauregard sweet potatoes may not have a complex flavor profile.
However, their extreme sweetness makes them unique.
Jewel Sweet Potato
After Beauregard, Jewel is the next most easily available variety of sweet potatoes.
They’re not as sweet as Beauregard but more versatile.
Jewel sweet potatoes are soft and tender. They become watery when cooked but hold their shape when baked or roasted.
Jewel sweet potatoes are best suited for casseroles and in baking.
Covington Sweet Potato
Covington sweet potatoes are the most widely exported potatoes from the US to Europe.
They’re orange-colored sweet potatoes with a medium glycemic index.
These sweet potatoes are creamy and moist.
They have a distinct malty sweetness that’s unlike the flavors of other sweet potatoes.
Recommended: Microwaving Sweet Potatoes – Is it Safe? | Is the Potato Categorized as a Legume? | Are Tomatoes Really Berries? | Freezing Corn Tortillas – Is it Possible? | Do Cheesecakes Need To Be Refrigerated?
Garnet Sweet Potato
Garnet potatoes have deep red or purple skin. Their insides have a rich orange color.
Garnet sweet potatoes are more savory than sweet. They have deep, complex flavors and a dense texture.
Garnet sweet potatoes do best as stuffing. You can also use them in casseroles, pies, and soups.
Purple Sweet Potato
Purple sweet potatoes are a feast for the eyes. Removing their ashy skin reveals vivid purple flesh on the inside.
Although they aren’t super sweet, they have a distinct and interesting flavor.
They add beautiful colors to soups, stews, and other dishes.
Japanese Satsuma-Imo Sweet Potato
The Japanese Satsuma Imo is different from other sweet potatoes in terms of texture and flavor.
It has a light-yellow flesh beneath ashen-purple skin.
This sweet potato is incredibly starchy, and it becomes sweeter when cooked.
The best way to eat Japanese Satsuma-imo sweet potatoes is by roasting or sautéing them.
Stokes Purple Sweet Potato
Stokes purple is a purple sweet potato with a delicate sweet flavor.
They’re dry and starchier than most orange sweet potato varieties.
You can use Stokes sweet potatoes in pies. They also taste good when mashed and roasted.
Which Sweet Potatoes Are Best For Baking?
The best sweet potatoes for baking are those with more moisture content.
The excess moisture will help them remain soft and tender after cooking.
Potato varieties with less moisture can dry out in the oven and become flaky and rubbery.
Sweet potatoes with orange flesh are generally better suited for baking than the purple and white varieties.
The orange-colored sweet potatoes have higher levels of the enzyme amylase.
This enzyme breaks down the starch into sugar.
So higher levels of the enzyme mean the potato will taste sweeter when cooked.
It will also end up with a creamier texture.
How To Choose And Store Sweet Potatoes?
One of the best things about sweet potatoes is that these tubers have a long shelf-life.
If you choose good sweet potatoes and store them carefully, they will last for a long time.
When shopping for sweet potatoes, always look for ones without bruises or cracked skin.
Regardless of the variety, the sweet potato should feel firm. The skin should be hard and shouldn’t yield to your touch.
The best way to store sweet potatoes is in a dark and dry space at 55°F to 60°F. They will keep for two to four weeks.
If you keep them in an exposed location at room temperature, they may spoil faster.
Even so, they should last for one or two weeks.
Sweet potatoes may sometimes sprout when kept for too long.
If it has only begun sprouting, you can safely get rid of the sprouted area and consume it as usual.
Never store sweet potatoes in the refrigerator. The moist environment will make them sprout and ruin their texture.
However, you can store cooked sweet potatoes in the refrigerator.
Sweet vs. Regular Potatoes: Which Is Better?
Although sweet potatoes have the term “potato” in them, they aren’t entirely related to regular potatoes.
Regular potatoes and sweet potatoes are both starchy vegetables.
They are rich in fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. However, they differ significantly in other ways.
To compare their nutritional benefits, we should look at how these starchy vegetables affect blood sugar levels.
Cooking increases the glycemic index of starchy vegetables because heat causes the starch in them to break down into simpler sugars.
The Glycemic index or GI of potatoes and sweet potatoes varies according to the variety and the cooking method.
The GI of sweet potatoes is usually between 44 and 94. Meanwhile, that of regular potatoes is between 89 and 111.
Although sweet potatoes are sweet, their GI is generally lower than that of normal potatoes.
So sweet potatoes are a better choice if you’re trying to control your sugar levels.
Nevertheless, both vegetables can be part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Potatoes are rich sources of potassium, while sweet potatoes have high Vitamin A levels.
When adding these vegetables to your diet, it’s important to pay attention to how you cook them.
Although they’re healthy on their own, mixing them with calorie-dense ingredients in recipes or choosing cooking methods like deep-frying can offset the benefits of these vegetables.