What the…I thought sweet potatoes were orange…?!?

So Thanksgiving is at Mrs. solost’s family. We were assigned with bringing a sweet potato casserole, which I was responsible for buying the sweet potatoes and making the casserole. I personally can’t stand sweet potatoes so have no experience with them. I’m making this recipe:

But … these sweet potatoes are not orange- their flesh is white, like a regular potato. I double-checked the stickers I took off them- they say “sweet potato”. They tasted sweetish. What’s up with that? Is it yams that are orange? Is my casserole going to be disgusting? Will I ruin Thanksgiving?!? :scream:

(Answer to that last one: no there will be plenty other food, even if my sweet potato casserole is gross.)

In all my years, I’ve never seen sweet potatoes that weren’t orange. Curious about what exactly you bought.

Until I moved to the United States I don’t think never saw an orange sweet potato. They were all white (or very pale) inside.

I’m the US they are all yellow. And much, much sweeter.

While orange is the most common color, there are varieties of sweet potatoes with cream or white, purplish, deep red, or other colors. The taste may be somewhat different but will probably be good.

By this observation I assume you are from New Zealand.

Assuming the o.p. is in the United States (preparing the dish for a ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving dinner) they probably purchased the Golden Belle or Rojo Blanco varietals which have a purple or blue-ish flesh. There are also ‘heirloom’ versions that have a pale flesh but you don’t typically find these at the supermarket. The different varietals will have differing water proportion, sugar content, and texture, with the lighter colored flesh generally having more liquid and is less firm, so if you are making any kind of baked dish containing them you need to adjust accordingly.

Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas), which are not yams even though they are often casually referred to as such in prepared dishes, can be found in a wide array of hues of both the skin and flesh. The ‘Asian’ sweet potato (generally referring to the “Purple Heart” varietal which is widely found in Okinawa and Hawai’i, as well as in various Chinese confectionaries) is bright purple, and I once made the mistake of making a sweet potato pie using this varietal for a pre-Thanksgiving gathering which nobody would touch because it “looks weird”. Sure, purple sweet potatoes are ‘weird’ but your gelled cranberry with the can ridges still molded into it is ‘normal’. Ugh.

Also, for the o.p. just splash in a big container of Yellow #5 and Red #40. Sure, the are probably carcinogens but there is so much other crap served on the typical Thanksgiving table that is found nowhere in nature that you might as well just slather the entire table in dioxin with sweet lead chips.


Thanks, Stranger. Yes, in the US. I’ve since thrown away the stickers that were on the potatoes so I don’t know the varietal, but the flesh was white, like a regular potato. They looked like sweet potatoes on the outside, orangey skin and pointy ends. Already made the casserole so no chance to dye it. We’ll see what the reaction is. I have no way to tell if it’s a “success” or not because I find sweet potato casserole abhorrent, myself.

The Satsuma variety of sweet potato is pretty close to white inside. There are also yellow and even purple sweet potatoes.

I was actually joking about the dye. I find the bright orange color kind of off-putting myself, mostly because of the association with ‘candied yams’ which, while not the most horrific thing on the standard Thanksgiving spread, is certainly a dish deserving its place in The Gallery of Regrettable Food. While I also find sweet potato casseroles (and casserole dishes in general) to be highly suspect if not outright nasty, sweet potatoes themselves are actually really good, especially the lighter colored that tend to be less sweet, and I’ve come to prefer them over ‘real’ potatoes for baking or roasting in dishes with other roots. They’re not as good for frying because of the lower moisture content and because they tend to become very tough, but you have some left over you might try baking one and give it a try.


Sweet potato pie: :grin:

…we call sweet potato kumara here, and we have a number of varieties that are quite common.

Types of kumara grown in New Zealand - KAIPARA KUMARA.

I tend to prefer the orange, but the red is most popular here.

I stand corrected. I’m acquainted with the Toka Toka and Owairaka


…oh, wasn’t meant to be a correction! Just we love our kumara down here :slight_smile: We tend to use it as a savoury side dish and is a staple component of a Hāngī.

I’m in the US and have seen and tasted the white ones. I find them tasty. But they are hard to find. I’ve also had purple ones. Supermarkets and marketing have lead us to believe that the orange ones are better, simply because the color is more attractive. The attractive color, of course, is why they were preferred for photo shoots and beautiful table spreads. The taste issue is personal.

At the farmers markets here there are usually three or four kinds, one of those being orange inside. The orange ones have more vitamins I’m told.

I can’t abide the way Americans cook them though. I don’t like my vegetables mushed, and as for adding sugar to already sweet foods, bleah! I often cut them into ‘french fries’, toss them in oil and spices, and roast them on a baking sheet. Yum!

Having lived largely in Indonesia and the Pacific, I’m familiar with sweet potatoes of all colors. In fact, while I lived on Pohnpei in Micronesia, the ag station where I worked was testing a lot of sweet potato varieties to find the ones that were best from the standpoint of local taste standards, nutrition, and ability to grow well in local conditions.

My personal favorite is purple sweet potatoes. They can be a little dry, but cooked properly they are delicious and beautiful.

This is actually pretty funny - assigning a sweet potato hater to bring sweets to the big meal of the year. Who’s cooking the turkey, the cousin who hands out PETA flyers every year? Dessert? Your diabetic aunt? The table wine will come from whoever still has the most leftover Mogen David from last year.

Happy Holiday!


Ha, yeah, I did see the irony in it, though it wasn’t as if they knew of my dislike for sweet potatoes.

But if you use white sweet potatoes, you lose the contrast with the little marshmallows…

This is a vitally important point.

The typical way sweet potatoes are prepared in the U.S. is baking, or as sweet potato fries. I’ve never seen them served mashed.

Those aghast at the idea of pale-fleshed sweet potatoes would probably gag if served non-sweet potatoes in this enticing shade:

I’m not going to say I’ve never seen them mashed — I must have somewhere along the way — but I typically see them roasted (which is how I prepare them usually), baked, or French fried.

I don’t get the marshmallowed or extra sweetening preps, though. For me the most delicious combination is roasted or fried sweet potatoes salted well with some habanero (or similar) sauce. But that’s not really for Thanksgiving.