Morning Chalk Up

History of the Sweet Potato

December 4, 2017 BY Justin LoFranco
History of the Sweet Potato

Hello there.

Most of you have probably eaten a sweet potato at least once in your life. And chances are pretty good that once you started doing CrossFit, you started eating a few more of them. Nowadays they’re served all sorts of ways — sweet potato fries, hash, mash, soup, stew, stuffed, crushed, and even in your salad — but do you know where this root from the morning glory family originates from?

Tell me more.

For starters, the sweet potato is only distantly related to your standard potato.

Often confused as a yam, which hailes from Africa, the sweet potatooriginates from the Americas, most likely Central America. Indians began farming it about 5,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest vegetables.

Who done it first?

That would be Christopher Columbus in 1492. He even brought some back to Europe when he returned from exploring, where they spread across the continent to the rest of the world.

Who eats the most?

The majority of sweet potatos are grown in China, at a rate of 105 million tonnes, but about half of that is used to feed livestock. However, Papua New Guinea takes the cake on per capita consumption of roughly 1,100 pounds per person a year.

Anything else?

What did the sweet potto say to the Irish potato? “You’re no potato! I yam.”