You're really missing out if you wait until Thanksgiving to enjoy this fall favorite (which, by the way, is not the same thing as a yam).

Sweet Potato sliced
Credit: Jim Cooper

How to Choose

Look for small to medium sweet potatoes, which are sweet and creamy. (The larger ones tend to be starchier.) The skin should be firm, smooth, and even-toned. The deeper the color of the potato, in general, the richer it is in the antioxidant beta-carotene.

How to Store

Keep sweet potatoes in a cool, dry place—think pantry, not refrigerator—for up to 2 weeks. Hang on to them longer and their high sugar content will cause them to spoil.

So Why Can’t You Call It a Yam?

While orange sweet potatoes sometimes wear this label in the United States, true yams are starchy, white-fleshed tubers common to tropical countries—not your grandmother’s famed candied casserole. (If you want to try a real yam, they’re often sold at international food markets.)

Five Ways To Enjoy Sweet Potatoes

  • Sweet Potato Wedges With Rosemary and Brown Sugar
    Toss sweet potato wedges with olive oil, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh rosemary. Roast at 400° F, tossing once, until tender, 45 to 50 minutes.
  • Sweet Potato and Bacon Pasta
    Sauté peeled and diced sweet potatoes in olive oil with smashed garlic cloves until tender. Toss with cooked pasta, grated Parmesan, crumbled bacon, and chopped fresh chives.
  • Baked Sweet Potatoes With Chipotle Sour Cream
    Pierce whole sweet potatoes with a fork. Bake at 400° F until tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Serve with a mixture of sour cream and chipotle chili powder. Top with chopped fresh cilantro.
  • Sweet Potato Pancakes With Sage
    Mix coarsely grated sweet potatoes with grated onion and chopped fresh sage; season with salt and pepper. Pan-fry spoonfuls of the mixture in olive oil until crisp and cooked through.
  • Spiced Mashed Sweet Potatoes
    Boil peeled and cut-up sweet potatoes until tender. Mash with unsalted butter and honey. Season with ground cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • Tip: Pureed cooked sweet potatoes are a delicious alternative to canned pumpkin puree in pies, cakes, and casseroles.