Whether you like them in a breakfast hash, sliced into fries, or in a casserole, sweet potatoes are a crowd favorite in the South! This root vegetable is next up in our “What’s in Season?” series.
What makes sweet potatoes special?
Sweet potatoes are part of a vegetable subgroup called red and orange vegetables. Vegetables in this group are known for their many health benefits and for being rich in vitamins and minerals. Here are a few ways sweet potatoes can enhance your diet:
- Sweet potatoes contain a nutrient called beta-carotene.  This is what gives them their bright orange color on the inside! When you eat a sweet potato, your body turns beta-carotene into Vitamin A, which is has been shown to promote eye health. 
- Sweet potatoes are a great source of Potassium. This nutrient helps muscles, bones, and the nervous system function properly. 
- Vitamin C can also be found in sweet potatoes. This vitamin has been shown to promote overall health by supporting the immune system and reducing the risk of some cancers. 
- Lastly, sweet potatoes are high in fiber. Fiber is good for many things like blood sugar regulation, keeping you fuller for a longer amount of time, and promoting better digestive health. 
Harvested in Georgia
Did you know that Georgia has 5,000 acres of land dedicated to growing and harvesting sweet potatoes?  And the state’s sweet potato market is worth 2.5 million!  That’s a lot of potatoes.
Georgia’s warm climate is perfect for growing sweet potatoes. Since they are root vegetables, you can only see the plant above the soil as they grow (see the picture below). Sweet potatoes are typically dug up and harvested around 80-110 days after planting.  After this, they are allowed to air dry to keep their sweetness.  For more information on planting, tending to, and harvesting sweet potatoes, visit this UGA Cooperative Extension Services article!
Sweet potatoes can be found at your local grocery store year-round. However, if you want to ensure that you are buying them when they are in season, mark your calendars for January through February and August through December.
If you want to purchase this crop locally, sweet potato farmers are located all across the state. Use this GA Grown resource to find the farmers closest to you! And for more information on when other local produce is available, check out our What’s In Season in Georgia chart.
Sweet Potato Recipes
The possibilities are endless when it comes to cooking with sweet potatoes. Here are some of our favorite ways to prepare them:
- Are you looking for a way to add vegetables to your breakfast? Our Egg, Kale, and Sweet Potato Casserole is the recipe you’ve been searching for!
- Our Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burgers are a great plant-based option for your next Meatless Monday menu.
- Three recipes in one! These Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are the perfect dinner to keep everyone satisfied or the perfect meal prep recipe to bring variety to your weekly meals.
- Mashed potatoes are a great comfort food, but sometimes you want to switch things up. Try our Mashed Sweet Potatoes recipe instead for a new flavor.
- Sweet potatoes just got sweeter with this Sweet Potato Cheesecake recipe.
We hope you enjoyed learning about sweet potatoes in this blog. Check back next month for a feature on cabbage!
Written by Darci Bell, RDN, LD | Edited by Leslie Davis, RDN, LD, CDCES, and the Nutrition Team
Posted: February 28, 2022
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