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Sweet potato month is February. Better known as African American history month, February is the perfect time to celebrate the sweet potato as you brush up on your history. February is actually both potato and sweet potato month, but that might change. There is a website working to change the National Sweet potato month from February to November.
When national sweet potato month rolls around this year, have some facts to stump your friends. First, sweet potatoes aren't really potatoes at all. They're roots. Sweet potatoes are also not the same as yams. It's likely that those candied yams you had over the holidays weren't yams at all. Yams are roundish with a dark skin, not tapered, and generally only found in tropical specialty stores. Yams have more starch and less sugar than sweet potatoes and are grown only in tropical and subtropical climates. However, in the United States, you can call them whatever you like.
Sweet potatoes can be stored year round, so they are good to eat at all times, without having a particular season when they are at their best. You can even store them up for sweet potato month. Don't refrigerate sweet potatoes; they're best kept between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit (12 to 18 degrees Celsius). Also use a stainless steel knife, even if you prefer carbon blades, as a carbon blade will cause a sweet potato to darken.
The sweet potato should be part of any daily diet as they stabilize blood sugars. They're high in beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, and B6. Sweet potatoes are a good source of iron and potassium. Include the skin, the next time you eat one, to get as much fiber as a bowl of oatmeal. There's no reason to single out just one sweet potato month for these gems.
Don't think that sweet potatoes are just for topping with marshmallows either. Sweet potatoes are versatile. They're great for breakfast in breads and muffins, or swap them out for regular potatoes in your favorite sausage and potato skillet meal. Try them with lunch as fries, in soups, or salads. Don't forget dessert, sweet potatoes are a key ingredient in a mountain of desserts that you'll love experimenting with. There's no reason not to treat yourself to a plain baked sweet potato topped with raisins, brown sugar, and cinnamon. However you decide to celebrate sweet potato month, it's sure to be a yummy one.
@carrotisland: Very interesting article! Good, fun info!
I thought I would include a little sweet potato FYI. Sweet potatoes have been cultivated in South America for over 5000 years. There have even been fossilized sweet potatoes found that were dated to be around 10,000 years old.
I found it interesting that Columbus introduced the sweet potato to Europe from the West Indies in the 1400’s. It has been said that Henry VIII was extremely fond of the sweet potato, having received some in Catherine of Aragon’s dowry.
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