New Sweetpotatoes Make Great Chips,
Fries By Linda
May 17, 2001
New sweetpotatoes now being developed by
Agricultural Research Service scientists
have less sugar and soak up less oil than traditional varieties, making the new
sweetpotatoes perfect for great-tasting and nutritious chips and french fries.
For the past eight years, ARS scientists Janice Bohac and Mike
Jackson at the
Vegetable Laboratory at Charleston, S.C., and cooperators at
Clemson University have used conventional
breeding and selection methods to develop medium light-orange, yellow, or
cream-colored sweetpotato breeding lines for new uses. Bohac has been
testing them in the small-scale chip-making kitchen in her laboratory.
Unlike popular sweet, orange-fleshed U.S. varieties, the new
sweetpotatoes resemble those eaten in the tropics and favored by U.S. consumers
from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and South America.
The new sweetpotato chips and fries soak up less oil because
they have a higher percentage of dry matter, meaning theyre more dense
than traditional varieties. So the new chips and fries are more crispy and
contain less fat.
The orange or yellow sweetpotato chips and fries contain lots of
nutrients--for example, high levels of beta-carotene. Just one medium-sized
sweetpotato provides more than the Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamin A,
as well as high levels of fiber, vitamin C and folic acid.
These new sweetpotatoes grow and produce well in the South and
require fewer pesticides because theyre resistant to key sweetpotato
Bohac is looking for a commercial cooperator to produce and test
the fries on a larger scale. If these new products catch on, they could open up
new markets for U.S. farmers and new nutritious foods for consumers.
For more details, see the May 2001 issue of Agricultural Research.
ARS is the chief research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Scientific contact: Janice R. Bohac, ARS
Vegetable Laboratory, Charleston, S.C., phone (843) 556-0840, fax (843)