When we trace back to the history of sweet potato, we found out that this root vegetable was actually born in Mexico, Central, and South America, as well as the West Indies. This vegetable is one of the oldest vegetables known to man. So, we can say that the origin of sweet potato dates back to quite long time, to the prehistoric times. It has been consumed since prehistoric times as evidenced by sweet potato relics dating back 10,000 years that have been discovered in Peruvian caves.
Looking back to the history of sweet potato, Christopher Columbus in his voyage to West Indies discovered various new foods which he brought back to Spain. In fact, sweet potato was one among his ship’s treasures. During that time, the Spanish relished them and started cultivating sweet potatoes immediately. Soon they started exporting sweet potato profitably to England where it was included in spice pies to be devoured at the court of Henry VIII.
It was in the 16th century that Spanish explorers brought the sweet potato to Philippines. However, according to the sweet potato history, this root vegetable was brought to Africa, India, Indonesia & southern Asia by the explorer of Portugal. Within the same time, sweet potato started to be cultivated in the Southern United States, where it still remains the staple food in the traditional cuisine.
The history of sweet potato also revealed that during mid-twentieth century, the orange-fleshed sweet potato was also introduced to the US. It was given name "yam" differentiating it from other variety of sweet potatoes. In many of the Asian & Latin American cultures, these sweet potatoes are a featured food. This briefly reveals the history behind sweet potato. Considering about the present days, the primary or the main commercial producers of sweet potatoes are China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, India and Uganda. Sweet potatoes are grouped into two major categories – the yellow, drier, mealy type with lighter beige colored skins, and others are soft & moist orange, sweeter ones with reddish skins that are usually called "yams."
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