Tuesday, February 23, 2021

National Bake a Sweet Potato Day - Sweet Potato Taste Test Comparison - February 22nd

Today is National Sweet Potato Day! I know a few people in this house that would love to do something to celebrate this day. 

And I wasn't content to just bake 1 kind of sweet potato. No way! This is a Flowers' family taste test. I searched out all the different sweet potatoes in my local markets and found 5 that we're going to try today!
My local Jon's Marketplace had 3 different varieties. 

First up is the White Sweet Potato, coming in at $1.69 per pound. 

Next is the Japanese Sweet Potato, or the Korean Sweet Potato as Chi calls it, for $1.69 per pound. She said she remembers when she was young how after the farmers harvested their fields, the kids were allowed to follow up looking for small potatoes that were left behind. She had quite a few of these when she was growing up. 

Next up is the Orange Sweet Potato for $1.29 per pound, and note that I did not call it a Yam. Even though that's what these are labeled in many places, these are really an orange variety of sweet potato that Louisiana farmers gave a different name to to differentiate themselves from the regular sweet potato. A true Yam has a leathery skin, starchy flesh, and isn't sweet. 

I picked up these purple sweet potatoes at Trader Joe's but neglected to take a picture of the display. I think they were something like $1.99 per potato. 

Last up are these Okinawa Sweet Potatoes I found at my local Tokyo Central Market for $2.99 per pound. 

These are an interesting shape. Their white skin doesn't really give anything away. I'm curious to try them. 

I enlisted my kitchen helpers to help prepare these spuds. 

Going after each of them with a fork, poking holes all around the skin. 

Despite the size differences, these are all baking on a cookie sheet in a 425F oven for 50 minutes. I didn't oil them, or put any salt or pepper on them. We'll be tasting the true flavor of each of these as best we can. 

Coming out of the oven, some got a little more shriveled up than others. 

Oh wow. Look at those colors! 

There's no photoshop trickery here. The three on the left are all colors I'm used to seeing. Those two on the right are pretty wild!

Theresa and I cut 6 disks out of each of the potatoes for everyone's plate tonight. 

We made our way through each of the flavors, and I was amazed at how different some of them tasted. Originally I would not have said I know many difference between all these, but now I can definitely say I have a favorite. 

Regular Sweet Potato. That's weird. I'm getting a little sweetness, but for some reason I'm also picking up like a boiled peanut kind of taste. It's not bad, but for this comparison, it's different than what I'd expect a good sweet potato to taste like. Theresa said it was a cross between a regular potato and sweet potato. 

Japanese/Korean Sweet Potato. I liked this one because it was sweet, but also had a little something extra about the flavor. 

Orange Sweet Potato. Well this one I did not like. To me it tasted like a mushy carrot. But I guess if you put it with marshmallows and brown sugar, everything tastes good. 

Purple Sweet Potato. Richard thought it looked like a beet! I think it's less sweet than the Okinawa Sweet Potato. 

Okinawa Sweet Potato. I'm amazed at the deep purple color inside this one. 
Definitely sweet. A favorite of many of our tasters today. 

And so after trying all five varieties, and then going back for more to confirm our choices, here's where we stand. 
Theresa, Ian, Alli - 1st Okinawa Sweet Potato, 2nd Korean Sweet Potato, 3rd Purple Sweet Potato, 4th Sweet Potato, 5th Orange Sweet Potato
Richard - 1st Korean Sweet Potato, 2nd Okinawa Sweet Potato, 3rd Purple Sweet Potato, 4th Sweet Potato, 5th Orange Sweet Potato
Chi - 1st Okinawa Sweet Potato, 2nd Korean Sweet Potato, 3rd Orange Sweet Potato, 4th Purple Sweet Potato, 5th Sweet Potato
Joe - 1st Korean Sweet Potato, 2nd Okinawa Sweet Potato, 3rd Purple Sweet Potato, 4th Sweet Potato, 5th Orange Sweet Potato

And so, if we were to assign points to each of the places, we'd see
1st Place - Okinawa Sweet Potato - 28 points
2nd Place - Korean Sweet Potato - 26 points
3rd Place - Purple Sweet Potato - 17 points
4th Place - Sweet Potato - 11 points
5th Place - Orange Sweet Potato - 8 points

Clearly the Okinawa and the Korean/Japanese Sweet Potatoes are the favorites here. 
What about you? Have you tried all the different varieties? What's your favorite? 


  1. I like that taste test because it's just the natural food with nothing on it; thus, let Mother Nature show her thing! That Okinawa one surprised me with its deep purple inside when the outside was a light brown; also sounds like a real winner to try myself. I've tried only the Japanese/Korean (J/K) and Orange sweet potatoes. A former Korean co-worker brought a slow baked J/K potato for me to try....boy was it GOOD...she told me that by baking it longer than usual seemed to bring out the sweetness more (she wrapped it in foil for the entire, long baking time; unfortunately, don't remember how many hours or temperature she used) definitely tasted sweet and delicious..put the Orange sweet potato to shame! What a great taste test...LIKE it! EOM

    1. Just the kind of taste test Theresa can support.
      When we were in Korea the convenience stores had sweet potatoes cooking in a little stand-alone machine, that made it look like they were on top of hot rocks. Theresa was tempted and bought one, but it was super dried out. Not a good food experience. These were so much better! And now I know which ones to look for going forward!