With its copper exterior and deep-orange meat, the jewel sweet potato is most likely what comes to mind when you think of sweet potatoes. It has a long history of use in baking and casseroles. However, some sweet potatoes, such as the Hannah type, have an orange interior but no orange flesh. We’re willing to wager that you’ve never heard of a speckled purple sweet potato. It’s never too late to get acquainted with these endearing potatoes.
When picking a sweet potato variety to grow in your garden, consider a few things. Do you have a restricted amount of room, or can you just grow in a container? Then a bush variety would be preferable to a vining one.
Do you live in a colder part of the country? Sweet potatoes thrive economically in the southern half of the United States and other warmer climes because they prefer hot climates with long days and warm daytime and evening temperatures. However, there is a type specifically designed for northern gardeners. When cultivating sweet potatoes, the appropriate growing conditions are essential for satisfactory tuber production.
Here are some of the most popular sweet potato types.
Types of Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are classified as follows based on the color of their flesh:
Orange Sweet Potatoes
The most prevalent types of sweet potatoes on the market are those with orange flesh. It’s easy to imagine there are only a few varieties when names like Beauregard, Covington, Garnet, and Jewel dominate what’s available in grocery shops. On the other hand, these kinds dominate the market due to their propensity to produce tasty and big quantities on commercial farms.
There is almost certainly a variety that will suit the needs of the adventurous gardener wishing to plant varieties in the far north of the United States, in containers or poor soil.
While most of these cultivars thrive in the warm, nearly tropical climates of the American South, particularly Louisiana and North Carolina, others have been selected specifically to withstand the colder temperatures and shorter days of the north.
White Sweet Potatoes
While many farmers are more familiar with their orange counterparts, sweet potatoes come in various colors and textures, including tanned skin and cream-colored interiors. While they have a somewhat different flavor than their orange-fleshed sisters, these potatoes are excellent for baking and frying.
Purple Sweet Potatoes
The Stokes purple, which has a purple exterior and purple flesh, and the Okinawa purple, which has a white skin with a purple interior, are the primary purple sweet potatoes.
These creamy spuds are smaller in size than their orange siblings, but they’re still fantastic for baking and mashing.
Ornamental Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potato vines that are planted for their ornamental value have been around for a long time. These sweet potato variants are not edible, even though they are made from real sweet potatoes. While they won’t kill you, their flavor may be enough to set you off sweet potatoes for good! Beautiful leaf shapes and hues have been developed into these vines.
Some vines are extremely prolific and are intended to cover large regions as ground covers. Others are compact and tiny, making them ideal for growing in limited spaces or containers. The leaves of ornamental sweet potatoes might be green, purple, red, or bronze in hue.
Popular Sweet Potato Varieties
This is one of the most popular sweet potato types in the world because it produces a high yield and is disease resistant. In 1987, Louisiana State University developed the Beaureguard to cope with the declining sweet potato market. It is now widely grown in the southern United States. You’ll need a wide garden plot to cul]tivate ‘Beaurguards,’ as the vines can grow to be 3′ to 6′ long.
The interior of the skin is bright orange, with a copper tint.
This plant maintains its shape in a range of soil conditions, making it a good choice for less-than-ideal soil. It thrives in sandy soils while maintaining its nutritional value. This cultivar does not have a pleasant flavor when picked. Before the flavor develops, it must be plucked and preserved for a while. As a result, use this method of cooking to prepare your favorite meals closer to Thanksgiving.
The exterior of Garnet sweet potatoes is dark orange-red, with brilliant purple flesh. They’re moister than Jewels or Beauregards. Therefore they’re ideal for baking. Even after baking, they keep their wonderful ruby tint.
This is the finest cultivar for northerners because it matures in 90 days when grown in lower climates. Because the vines can grow to be 40 inches long, this cultivar requires a lot of room to develop. The flavor is tasty and moist, with deep orange flesh and crimson skin, according to many.
Jewel is the Queen of Sweet Potatoes for the gardener who isn’t concerned with appearances but is looking for flavor. It is the most often planted spud in North Carolina for commercial producers. The tubers are small and thick compared to other types, but they produce a lot of sweets, with six sweets from only one plant. The harvest is 120 to 135 days after planting, and most people say it’s worth the wait.
The Yellow Hannah or Sweet Hannah is another name for this sweet potato. It has a tan/creamy off-white skin with yellowish sensitive meat.
It has an oblong shape and semi-smooth skin. Hannah sweet potatoes have a texture comparable to that of a typical white potato and thrive in warm temperate areas.
Bunch Puerto Rico
Gardeners with limited area or who like to grow their sweets in containers will enjoy this variety. This cultivar, often known as ‘Bush’ or ‘Vineless,’ matures around 90 to 110 days following planting. The skin is copper, and the flesh is a pale pink color. It has been described as an old-fashioned, delightful flavor by those who have tried it, and it is said to be great for baking.
Heartgold is sometimes known as Heart of Gold. This heirloom cultivar is praised for its sweet flavor, but slips are tough to come by. If you come upon any, grab them straight immediately, and save potatoes from each harvest to use as grow slips for the next season. The spuds are huge, yet the output can be disappointingly modest.
The purple-ish exterior of these sweet potatoes contrasts with the creamy white flesh, which turns yellow after cooking. They have a sweet, deep flavor that goes well with both savory and sweet recipes. The flesh of the ‘Japanese’ sweet potato is substantially drier than that of the orange-fleshed sweet potato.
This type has a beautiful, deep purple skin and flesh that stays true to color even after cooking. It works well in many of the same recipes as orange sweet potatoes, such as pies, fries, and chips; the brilliant purple color adds to the excitement.
These sweet potatoes are native to Okinawa, Japan, and are beige on the outside and lavender-purple on the inside, turning a blue-ish purple when cooked. They have a delicate, somewhat sweet flavor and a creamy, slightly starchy texture. It is possible to grow ‘Okinawan’ sweet potatoes in US climes, but the variety was developed specifically for the weather of the islands of Okinawa and Hawaii. Professional sweet potato farmers have noted that it does not thrive in mainland conditions. It prefers to be watered many times a day and thrives in rich, nutrient-rich soil and warm, sunny circumstances.
These sweet potatoes with red to garnet skins open up to reveal deep orange flesh. This type is thought to be particularly resistant to Rhizopus soft rot. It’s resistant to Fusarium root rot and wilt, as well as soil rot, while root-knot nematodes are intermediate to resistant. Between 90 to 110 days after planting, it is ready to harvest. The Bayou Belle is sweet and firm, making it ideal for baking or roasting.
Look no further if you’re looking for a medium-sized grower. This newer North Carolina variety has quickly become one of the most popular cultivars in both North Carolina and Louisiana. It contains orange meat that is juicy and uniformly long potatoes. This is a cultivar that thrives in locations with shorter seasons and lower temperatures. Fusarium wilt, soil rot, and worms are all resistant to it. Covington is quite similar to Beauregard sweet potato, but it is significantly darker and has an orange-red skin hue. After 110-120 days, it’s ready to harvest. It’s great for roasting or mashing potatoes.
The flesh of these red-skinned beauties is a vivid orange-red color. It’s a favorite of sandy-soil farmers, and it thrives in Louisiana. This red sweet potato has a reasonable yield. However, it yields less than many other kinds and grows in 90-100 days. Burgundy has a creamy texture and a sweet flavor that you can count on.
This plant matures in approximately 90 days, making it an excellent alternative for growers with limited growing windows. The root is tan on the outside and white on the inside. This sweet potato was bred from the orange-fleshed Beauregard and inherited a lot of the latter’s disease resistance.
Sumor is a unique sweet potato type with pale tan skin and almost yellow flesh that varies between yellow and white. It has some disease resistance and may flourish in hotter regions. When baked or fried, it has a delicious flavor.
Despite its name, this sweet potato cultivar was first produced in Louisiana. This reddish-purple sweet potato has a delicate white flesh color and is disease resistant. It is now mostly produced in California. It has a wide range of culinary applications and can be used as a more nutritional and flavorful substitute for russet potatoes. A light violet trumpet-shaped blossom emerges from the flower.
Margarita Sweet Potato
This light green vine grows quickly and can soon cover walls or open places. The leaf will turn a darker green color if grown in the shade.
Sweet potatoes come in over 400 different types, yet they aren’t all made equal. One of the many advantages of growing your own food is that you can experiment with different varieties that you wouldn’t be able to find in a store or at a farmers’ market.