Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Sweet Potato Varieties

If you think all sweet potatoes are alike, you are incorrect!  Think about apples.  There are dozens of different varieties (Red Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith, etc.) and each one looks and tastes different.

Sweet Potatoes are the same way!  Their skin color runs from pink to dark red...inside the potato, colors range from orange to yellow...with all shades between.  There are over 400 varieties of Sweet Potatoes around the world!

Here are some of the more popular and unusual varieties of  Sweet Potatoes available today!

Varieties grown and marketed by Wayne E. Bailey Produce Company include:


Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station release. Light rose or copper skin, dark orange flesh, uniformly shaped. Very good yield that stores well. Resistant to white grub and streptomyces soil rot but is susceptible to root knot nematode. Matures in 105-110 days. Outstanding new release that has really been accepted by farmers. Extremely high yields with very little cracking. Red-orange skin and orange flesh. Quick maturing with good shape.

"Bunch" Porto Ricos
Also called "Bush" and "Vineless." The favorite of gardners with limited space. Porto Rico has copper-colored outside skin and light red flesh. Delicious "old-fashioned" flavor, an excellent baking potato. "Baby Bakers" in 100 days. The old "red yam."

Carolina Bunch
Developed by USDA-ARS and Clemson University SCAES for use in gardens where the bunch habit requires less space for high yields. Roots are uniformly shaped with a very smooth bright, light copper skin. The flesh is deep orange. Resistant to four races of root knot nematode. Adequate resistance to stem rot, internal cork, sclerotial blight and leaf blight. Low level resistance to soil rot. Adequate level of resistance to wireworms, cucumber beetles and flea beetles but not as high as Regal or Sumor. Not resistant to white grub. Vigorous plants form a dense and high leaf canopy resulting in a bunched appearance. Yields are better than Jewel in a 110-120 day growing season.

Soft-fleshed type. Produces a medium to large product. This old favorite is a smooth sweet potato with a deep orange flesh that adds color to every table — and the yield is unbelievable! Tolerates clay soil better than the Jewel. This is America's leading sweet potato. Chances are this is the variety you bought at your local market. Carrot color inside. "Baby Bakers" in 90 days. Yields reported of 500 bushels per acre. Chef's favorite because of beautiful color and excellent cooling qualities.

he Covington variety is the newest release from the North Carolina State University's horticultural science department.  It has been so well received by growers that is will account for nearly 90% of the sweet potato acreage in North Carolina in the 2009 season.  The orange flesh has the look and taste consumers really enjoy.

Dark red color skin with a deep orange flesh. Produces many uniform potatoes. The Darby has good eating quality when cured. Soft juicy flesh when baked.

Rose colored skin and moist deep orange flesh. 
New release from Louisiana.

Attractive light copper skin and orange flesh. Sizes well shaped roots earlier than most cultivars and yields about 15% more than Jewel. Resistance to disease and insects similar to the Regal.  Is similar to the Regal in that it has shown better natural insect resistance than could be expected using chemical pesticides. Vine growth is vigorous and ground cover is good. Developed by USDA-ARS and Clemson University.

Georgia Jet
A spectacular new variety with extremely fast growth (#1 size potatoes in only 90 days) and extra-high yields. Ideal for northern gardens, even New England. Five years of testing in  New York shows that Georgia Jet produces 2-1/2 times the yield of standard varieties. Yields in other sections are exceptional. Jets have deep orange inside color with moist flesh and marvelous taste. The outside skin is so red it is almost purple.

Developed by Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station. This late (125 days) sizing cultivar has high yield and excellent baking and processing qualities. Moderate resistance to fusarium wilt, southern rootknot, nematode, soil rot and internal cork. Roots are fusiform, lightly grooved and red skinned. Flesh is a deep orange.

Jersey or Yellow Jersey
This variety is an "old-fashioned" sweet potato with a golden yellow skin at harvest time which fades to buff or tan after storage. The flesh color ranges from creamy white to bright yellow with an occasional pink variegation. It has a dry, mealy flesh that is exceptionally sweet and creamy and retains its form when baked.  Delicious simply steamed in a pot of rice.

"The current Queen of sweet potatoes,” was developed by North Carolina State University. Thought to be the most versatile sweet potato, with copper-colored skin and moist, bright orange flesh. They stand up well in salads because of their intense color and are good for baking or steaming.

The variety is a “yam-type” (moist, soft, yellow-fleshed when baked) with a light copper skin and orange flesh. It produces a very high yield (to 6 sweet potatoes per plant) of moderately short, chunky roots. The variety prefers a sandy soil and is resistant to fusarium wilt, southern rootknot nematode, internal cork and sweet potato beetle. It needs 120-135 days growing time for maximum yield.

Kotobuki (Japanese)
Light reddish-brown colored flesh with a nutty flavor similar to a roasted chestnut that is great for baking, salads and tempura.  Like the Jersey variety, Kotobuki sweet potatoes are drier and not widely used outside of Japanese cooking.  Good for tempura, soups and stews, stir-fries, and baking.

Kumara (New Zealand)

The kumara has a long history of cultivation in New Zealand . Brought by the early Maori settlers in about the 10th century from its Pacific Island source (Hawaiki) , it was widely grown especially in the semi-tropical regions of the North Island . Archaeological diggings at the Waipoua Forest near Kaipara have revealed kumara cultivation from very early Pre-European Maori times.

The Maori managed kumara growing with great horticultural skill, making use of the ideal growing climate and controlling kumara caterpillar with the use of tamed black-backed seagulls. Kumara caterpillar could devastate a crop almost overnight, hatching in their thousands. Pre-European Maori grew several different varieties of 'bush' kumara, but compared to modern hybrids, were very small in size, being similar to the modern Anya potato variety.

Modern day kumara has evolved from cross breeding with a larger American hybrid imported in the 1850's. A dark red variety was developed which grows on a creeping vine and was named Owairaka Red. The majority of kumara are grown in Northland in the Northern Wairoa region where soil type and climatic conditions suit kumara perfectly. Kumara is the 3rd most popular vegetable in New Zealand and is revered by Maori as a cultural culinary emblem.

Nancy Hall
The "Yellow Yam" of the 30's and 40's. Older gardener's favorite. Light skin, yellow flesh. Juicy, waxy and sweet when baked. If taste is more important than beauty, try Nancy Hall.

New Jewell
The improved Centennial. The blue ribbon winner for color, taste and yield. Rosy red outside skin, deep orange inside. Bakes quickly with a soft texture.

Red Garnet
Deep red or purple skin, moist orange flesh with medium-sized roots and short to long spindle.  Best used in recipes that call for mashed or grated sweet potatoes such as pies, cakes and breads due to its high moisture content.  The soft flesh also makes excellent mashed sweet potatoes.

Red Jewel
An old favorite. Deep orange inside with very red outside skin. Bakes quickly with soft texture. Real "eye catcher."

A native of the Japanese island Okinawa, the Okinawa Sweet Potato with its light brown skin and unusual purple flesh is richly nutritious and surprisingly sweet. It retains its dark purple color when baked and tastes similar to the Kotobuki sweet potato. Its beautiful color lends itself well to stir-fries, tempura and baking.

This root vegetable is a staple among the people of Okinawa and Hawaii.  Because of its delicate sweet taste, it is often simply boiled, cut into chunks and served, but those with a more creative flair treat it in less traditional ways.  Okinawa Sweet Potatoes are often served toward the end of the meal.

White colored flesh comparable in appearance and flavor to the old Nancy Hall variety. It is a mutation of the Beauregard and was developed by Henry Wayne Bailey. It is high yielding with a maturity of 90 days vs. 120 days for Nancy Hall. It is resistant to disease where other white varieties aren't.

The Japanese or Oriental Sweet Potato has a beautiful pink to purple skin and is white inside.  It has a delicious sweet flavor reminiscent of a chestnut.  They are used to make liquor in Japan.  They are attractive, colorful, and make a wonderful presentation.  They can be grilled, steamed or baked.

Porto Rican
Copper colored skin with a reddish-orange flesh. Old established moist sweet potato with a very sweet and delicious flavor. Excellent for baking. Its compact growing habits make it an ideal garden variety. It is susceptible to wire worm, fusarium wilt, internal cork and southern root-knot nematodes.

Brilliant purplish-red skin at harvest, orange flesh and excellent baking quality. It produces abundant sprouts and has excellent yield potential. high level of resistance to internal cork and stem rot (fusarium wilt). Low level of resistance to soil rot (pox) and good resistance to southern rootknot nematode. Regal also has resistance to tobacco and southern potato wireworm, banded cucumber beetle, spotted cucumber beetle, elongate flea beetle, pole striped flea beetle, sweet potato flea beetle and to at least two species of white grubs. Stores well but not as long as Jewel. Developed by USDA-ARS, Clemson University SCAES & Texas A&M.

Satsuma (Japanese)
The name "satsuma-imo" originates from the fact that sweet potatoes were cultivated widely in the Satsuma(Kagoshima) region after they were introduced to Japan in the 17th Century.  They are also called kanshoryukyu-imokaraimo (Chinese potato), among other names.  The Kagoshima region has the largest sweet potato production in Japan.  They are sold fresh, processed into shochu (an alcoholic drink), or used as a raw material for processed food.  Subtle sweetness and simple flavor makes them a popular variety.

Southern Delite
Has a rose to dark copper skin, dark orange flesh and excellent baking quality and satisfying flavor. Produces excellent yields and stores slightly better than Jewel. Combination of pest resistances is similar to that of Regal. Has moderate soil rot resistance. Has shown better natural insect resistance than could be expected using chemical pesticides. Excellent sprout (plant) production. Developed by USDA-ARS and Clemson University and released in 1986.

Sumor, which is old English for summer, is considered a novelty as it has similarities to that of an Irish potato. It has a smooth, light tan skin, white to yellow flesh and a high dry matter content. It can be eaten fresh earlier than most cultivars and yields about 15% more than Jewel. Although this variety has only a fraction of the Beta-Catotene found in orange varities, it does contain more Vitamin C than most tomatoes. Resistance to disease and insects similar to Regal. Vine growth is vigorous and ground cover is good. Developed by USDA-ARS and Clemson University SCAES. Sumer should be grown in climates too hot for Irish potatoes. You won’t be able to tell the difference.

A bush variety with deep orange flesh. Perfect for the limited-space garden, where its beautiful deep red and green foliage makes it equally attractive as an ornamental. Released by the Mississippi Agricultural Extension Service in 1981. Is considered the best short-vined variety for eating. Has better resistance to fusarium wilt than older short vines (only 4’-5’ in length). The latest release and the most spectacular. Golden yellow outside skin that darkens soon after digging. Deepest, brightest orange color of all.

White Sweet Potato
White sweet potatoes are a variety of regular orange sweet potatoes. Both orange and white sweet potatoes are in the Morning Glory family, Convolvulaceae. White sweet potatoes are also called camote, boniato, or batata. The outside skin of the white sweet potato is a brownish-purple or a reddish-purple color. The inside flesh of the white sweet potato is white or cream colored and is very firm.

Yamiamo (Japanese)
This is a sticky sweet potato that the Japanese peel and grate or julienne for salads.  It's also fried or used to make soba noodles.

Copyright 2012 by Wayne Bailey Produce Company