The sweet potato, or as it is scientifically known Ipomoea batatas, is a vegetable that belongs to the Convolvulaceae family. It is classified as one of the first foods of humanity, since its remains date back to the year 750 (BC). There are different varieties of sweet potato that can be easily distinguished by the colour of their skin and pulp, such as white, yellow and purple. Although it is visibly very similar to the potato, the sweet potato differs by being a “reserve” root, which means that, instead of absorbing water or nutrients, it reserves them.
Currently this Superfood is produced in some Latin American countries, such as Peru, and also in Asia. Thanks to its natural work of saving nutrients, it can grow at different heights and resist adverse weather conditions. Specifically, in the coastal areas of Peru, production is favourable almost every month of the year, except for April.
Although the sweet potato is known to originate from Peru, its production in different parts of the world has reopened historical discussions, such as the arrival of the first civilizations to the South American continent, led by Christopher Columbus.
As revealed by a study by the Center for Cooperation and Agricultural Research for Development (France), led by researcher Caroline Roullier, the appearance of sweet potatoes in countries of Oceania date back to the years 1000 to 1100 (AD), at least three centuries before the arrival of Spanish ships. With this discovery, it is denied that European expeditions were the first to set foot on South American territory,and explains the emergence in the eastern part of the hemisphere
The ‘sweet potato’ is gaining a place in world production and consumption, not only due to its nature of growing in different spaces, but also to the uses and benefits it offers to improve the quality of life of our species.
What is sweet potato powder?
At Peruvian Nature, sweet potato powder is the result of a process that begins with the cultivation of the Superfood and then passes on to the collection and selection of the crop, and finally to the processing stage (disinfection, and reduction of bacterial load by our OSS process) in line with the highest safety standards endorsed by international certifications, such as BRC, HACCP.
As of July 2021, Peruvian sweet potato exports exceeded 6 million kilos equivalent to a value exceeding 2.4 million dollars. In other words, double what was achieved the previous year. The main destinations were the Netherlands (representing 49% of exports), followed by Chile and the United States.
Sweet potato powder benefits
Sweet potato is the sixth most important crop worldwide with a producting exceeding 105 million metric tons, thanks to its natural qualities to grow in diverse conditions. However, not all varieties of sweet potato have the same energy values.
Their properties vary with respect to the colour of the pulp and the area in which they are planted. The most common value in all its copies is the low-fat portion. Among them, the orange sweet potato stands out as an excellent source of beta-carotene that converts into Vitamin A when ingested and can substantially contribute to fortifying the immune system and improving eyesight.
We also have the purple sweet potato, high in anthocyanins, a natural pigment to which it owes its colour. It is also a good antioxidant that calms infections and contributes to improved functioning of the heart.
In addition, it contains a vitamin called tocopherol (vitamin E) that is rich in antioxidants and helps prevent infections and common illnesses, like the flu.
The Sweet Potato, thanks to its high content of complex carbohydrates, which are digested more slowly, generates a great supply of energy and maintains the energy supply for longer.
In addition, it offers the lowest glycemic index compared to the roots. This is important for athletes, because it causes a gradual rise in blood sugar, so you feel full for a longer period without experiencing spikes in blood sugar levels.
Lipids, proteins, fats, starch, sugars, vitamins, minerals and amino acids are present in all kinds of sweet potatos. As well, it contains 95% water when in its natural form.
Sweet potato uses
The sweet potato – in its many varieties – has different uses worldwide. It is mainly used for human consumption in desserts or baked goods, fried foods, purées, etc., and even processed as groceries (pasta). It is also used as livestock feed, being one of the most recommended for the low methane emissions it produces, and for scientific studies.
According to the International Potato Center – IPC (CIP in Spanish), experts from different scientific disciplines examined more than 5,000 samples of sweet potato germplasm over a 12-month period with the aim of creating new varieties with greater nutritional value and that adapt to different climates.
Nowadays, due to its great nutritional values and its adaptability to different soils and climates, the sweet potato is one of the best foods to reduce hunger in the world. According to other CIP reports, thanks to this root, more than 6 million families in rural areas of Africa and Asia have improved their food quality. And by 2023, 15 million more are expected to improve their income by 15% thanks to the cultivation of sweet potato.
How to consume sweet potato powder?
Sweet potato powder is an excellent replacement for wheat flour, so it can be used to make breads, pancakes or any type of dessert that requires cooking. There are also some noodle brands that have switched from wheat flour to sweet potato.
In the case of baked desserts or bread, using it is very simple, only a portion of the wheat flour that is normally used should be replaced by the same portion of sweet potato powder. Only in the case of pancakes can wheat flour be completely replaced with sweet potato powder. Since the measurements are small in quantity, it does not compromise the texture of the food.
When in its natural form, the sweet potato can be peeled like a potato and cut it into slices, sticks or in any way you prefer before frying. In Peru, sweet potato slices usually accompany pork rind sandwiches with onion bramble. Its sweet flavour is mild and combines very well with savoury dishes.
It can also be consumed parboiled, because it is not necessary to peel it this is due to the fact that the peel is also high in fiber. The sweet potato need only be placed for a few minutes in a saucepan with boiling water and consumed, this will help those who suffer from constipation. Sweet pototo goes nicely with or salads, replacing regular potatoes or rice, since it has a lower glycemic index (44) representing half that of normal potatoes (80).
You can easily use it as a powder to add to your nutritional shakes. It is an ideal Superfood for athletes due to the complex carbohydrates it contains.
Although it is a widely recognized superfood, it should not be consumed in excess. Specialists recommend that it be eaten once or twice a week.
Where to buy sweet potato powder?
The versatility of sweet potatoes allows it to be available anywhere in the world and in different varieties. In its natural state, as a vegetable, powdered, in flour or cubed.
The sales of sweet potato have become widespread internationally, thanks to the disclosure of its nutritional properties. This is evident in the growth in exports from Peru in the years from 2020 to 2021.
You can find different individualized presentations of sweet potato powder, cubes, etc. in different online stores or supermarket chains, but – as always – we recommend that, when choosing a brand, you consider that its preparation complies with the highest manufacturing standards, and above all, that it has international health support, even better if it is from an organization in your country or continent.
Remember that the production of natural products such as these is easily contaminated and infectious, so it is very important that both your machinery, personnel and process strategy work in harmony with the best safety practices and also respect for the environment, and your communities. production companies; like Peruvian Nature does.
If you are an entrepreneur or merchant and want to request our products or samples, please leave your information in the contact section of our website or write to us by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team will contact you quickly to answer all your questions and provide you with all the information you need. We can all be part of this great change and offer healthy, nutritious and natural products to our clients with Peruvian Nature.