History of the Sweet Potato
What a Hot Potato!
· The sweet potato dates back to 750 B.C. in Peruvian records. Columbus brought it back to Spain.It was a huge hit as the Spanish loved the sweet potato—preferred it, in fact, to the white potato, which later arrived.
· Reportedly, Henry VIII is said to have enjoyed sweet potatoes. As the English, initially imported their sweet potatoes from Spain, and the British called them Spanish potatoes.
· France took notice of the new delicacy and Louis XV and, later, Napoleon’s Josephine, created brief interest in the sweet potato in France. Yet, it was not a long term attraction and when it was no longer fashionable among the royals, it was dropped.
· The sweet potato went traveling with the Spaniards, and when they arrived in the Philippines in 1521 they became a hit, quickly spreading to other islands. It soon became a staple throughout the Pacific, including China.
· From China, the sweet potato moved to Japan, where it became not only a food source, but also a source of starch and alcohol. It is now the third most important food crop in Japan.
· Portuguese traders also carried the sweet potato to India, by around 1616. Africa, too, likely got sweet potatoes from the Portuguese. They then moved to the new world.
· George Washington Carver was the highly esteemed agricultural scientist who joined Booker T. Washington at the Tuskegee Institute researching crops that could reduce malnutrition and increase income in the South. He wrote articles about sweet potatoes, and created over a hundred different uses for the sweet potato including dyes.
· Today, in the U.S. especially at Thanksgiving, we all enjoy the sweet potatoes in many different formats. YUM!
Try this easy Sweet Potato Fry recipe!