Potatoes and sweet potatoes might have similar names, but the German ‘Landvolk-Pressedienst’ announces that, botanically speaking, they are two different varieties.
Our familiar potato is part of the nightshade family, or solanaceae, while the sweet potato, or kumara, belongs to the bindweed family, or concolvulaceae. However, both come from Central and South America. From there, the sweet potato arrived in England in the sixteenth century, where the Indian name ‘Batata’ was changed to ‘Potato.’ Thus, the comparison to the potato was born.
Besides the name, the two tubers also look a lot alike, and even their preparation methods are similar. They also have almost the same contents of fat, proteins, iron, potassium, vitamin B6, and magnesium. One of the largest differences, however, is sugar content: the sweet potato contains approximately 4.2 grammes of sugar per 100 grammes, explaining both flavour and name, while, in comparison, the potato only contains 0.8 gram of sugar. Calorie content per 100 grammes is therefore also higher for sweet potatoes with 108 kcal compared to the regular potato, which only has a modest 68 kcal. Sweet potatoes can be stored for about two weeks with temperatures between 12 and 18 degrees Celsius. Regular potatoes, however, can even be stored for months, as long as they are being kept in a cool and dark place.
Regarding cultivation, potatoes are also equal to lower temperatures than sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are imported almost exclusively, from, for example, Brazil and Israel. Prices are therefore clearly higher than those of regular potatoes as well.