16 Amazing Facts About Sweet Рotato

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The plant belongs to the bindweed family. Unlike potatoes, which are tuber (stem thickening), sweet potatoes form root thickenings. Storage root – this is what the sweet potato roots are called abroad, which most fully reflects their essence. In addition, all parts of the plant are edible: leaves and young shoots are actively used for food. What do you know about Sweet Рotato?

  1. Worldwide, sweet potatoes are the sixth most important food staple after rice, wheat, potatoes, corn and cassava. However, in developing countries, it is the fifth most important food crop (it is grown more than any other root-tuberous crop). More than 105 million metric tons are produced annually worldwide; 95% of which are grown in developing countries.
  2. The sweet potato can grow up to 2500 meters above sea level. It requires less resources and labor to grow than other crops such as corn, etc. It can also be cultivated in areas with extreme growing conditions: dry periods, poor soil. Here it acts as a cheap “nutritional solution” in developing countries that need to grow more food in a smaller area.
  3. Sweet potato roots have a wide range of skin and pulp colors. It ranges from white to yellow, orange and deep purple. Varieties with bright orange flesh are an important source of beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. Only 125 g of this sweet potato provides the daily requirement for provitamin A of a preschool child.
  4. In addition, sweet potatoes are also a valuable source of vitamins B, C, and E, and they contain moderate amounts of iron and zinc.
  5. US dietitians are studying the potential anti-cancer properties of anthocyanins, which are present in the purple varieties of this crop.
  6. Sweet potato comes from Latin America, but today it is Asia that is the world’s largest producer of this crop: more than 90 million tons. China is the leader here. He not only grows, but also consumes the largest amount of sweet potatoes. The plant is used for food production, animal feed and processing (starch, flour, alcohol, food additives and dyes, etc.).
  7. The importance of sweet potatoes as a food crop is growing at an enormous rate in some parts of the world. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa, it is outpacing the growth rate of other major products. It was also tasted in Europe. This refers to countries that traditionally did not grow sweet potatoes: France, Great Britain, Germany (consumption of sweet potatoes by the population is growing from year to year).
  8. Sweet potatoes are used not only in human nutrition. It is a source of healthy and cheap animal feed. Recent studies have shown that animals fed high-protein sweet potato tops produce less methane gas than those fed with other foods. This potentially contributes to significant reductions in harmful global emissions.
  9. This wonderful crop produces more “edible” kilograms per hectare than any other (including corn and white potatoes). This is why sweet potato is considered one of the first plants to be cultivated in space stations.
  10. Batat more than once rescued the population of different countries during the “difficult periods” of their development. In America, he saved the first colonial settlements of Europeans from starvation. During the Civil War and the Great Depression in the United States, it allowed tens of thousands of people to survive. The Japanese used it when typhoons destroyed their rice fields. Made it possible for millions of people to survive in starving China in the early 1960s. The sweet potato came to the rescue in Uganda in the 1990s when a virus wiped out the cassava crop.
  11. Fresh sweet potatoes, stored for a long time in a modern refrigerator, develops a fragile taste and a hardened heart.
  12. When Columbus brought the first sweet potato roots to Spain, his first biographer wrote: “Christopher discovered one island called Hispaniola (present-day Haiti), whose inhabitants eat a special root bread. A small bush grows tubers the size of a pear or small pumpkin. They are dug out of the ground in the same way as our radish or turnip, dried in the sun, chopped, ground into flour and baked from it into bread, which is consumed boiled. The natives call these tubers “Achies”).
  13. It took the British 200 years to accept ordinary potatoes (they call them “Irish”) as suitable for human nutrition, but sweet potatoes immediately became a rare and expensive delicacy.
  14. Before becoming the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and the first president, George Washington was a yam farmer!
  15. In the industry of various countries, not only food products, semi-finished products and ethyl alcohol (from 10 kg of sweet potato yield up to 1.7 liters) are made from sweet potatoes, but also biofuel: bioethanol.
  16. In Japan, the following experiment was successfully carried out: an electric current of 2 A was passed through a sweet potato root crop for 5 minutes. As a result, the amount of antioxidants increased almost one and a half times! This technique had no effect on the taste of sweet potatoes.
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