Korean or Japanese Sweet Potato

sunnibel7 Md 7(7)January 1, 2010

Hi all, Happy New Year! I was thinking about making changes to my Sweet Potato patch this year, namely trying a different variety. I've been growing Vardeman because of space considerations, but may have more room this summer (keep you fingers crossed for me!). There's this one sweet potato I've eaten that I really like a lot, but I'm not sure what it is called. It's red skinned, with creamy white flesh that cooks to have a yellow tint, dry, sweet and "clean" tasting (and is phenomenal oven roasted in chunks). I can buy it at our local Asian market as "Korean Sweet Potato" and I've seen mention of a "Korean Purple" when doing a search on the web, but the description doesn't quite sound right. I've also seen a "Japanese Sweet Potato" that looks and sounds more or less right. So, does anybody know anything about these types? Like, is either of the two varieties I found on the internet the one I'm buying at market, how big do these vines get, how well do they store, etc.? Thanks so much!


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fran_always(z6 PA)

Happy New Year to you too. I grew sweet potatoes for the first time this year. They were in large trough self-watering containers on the deck and did wonderfully. I planted 3 to a container.

The 2 varieties I tried were "8633" and Golden Sweet from the Mericlone Labs. The 8633 were so good, they melt in the mouth, skin and all. I still have some in the basement. They are starting to sprout.

The Golden Sweet was a little less tasty and the skin was hard. They are long keeper and still good.

Here is the link to their website. They have pictures of your Korean Purple and others. They sell on eBay too, that's where I got mine.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mericlone Labs

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 11:38PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Thanks, Fran, but none of those look quite like the one I'm looking for. Maybe the Koto Buki they have, but it didn't have the picture. Also, their Korean Purple looks different from those on at least a couple other sites in that it has purple flesh, too! But that's a neat little site, thanks for posting!

In a pinch, I'll try asking the store manager if he knows which variety it is sold under- they actually get a fair amount of their specialty produce grown locally, but I fear that the answer will be "Korean Sweet Potato"! :) I can also try to start some slips from one, but they may have been treated to prevent that. And I still won't know what it is called! Mmmmm, thinking about it is making me hungry...



    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 11:46AM
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jwr6404(8B Wa)

Try Yama's

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 12:43PM
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bella_trix(z6b SE PA)

Hi Sunni,

I grew Korean Purple from Sand Hill Preservation Center for the last two years and am very happy with it. Last January, I did a review post of all the Heirloom sweet potatoes that I grew (see below). Korean purple was white fleshed, purple-red skinned and had a very sweet, excellent, unique taste. It turned yellow fleshed when cooked.

Here are my pictures of the potatoes (after a long time in storage) raw and cooked:

Unfortunately, Sand Hill had a huge vole issue this year and is not offering individual sweet potato slips for 2010, only mixed packs.

You could try growing slips from the sweet potato that you are buying at the market.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: My Mini Heirloom Sweet Potato Review

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 5:55PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Thanks, Bella! I also read your report from last year. Would you classify the Korean Purple as "dry" in texture, especially compared to your avereage supermarket sweet? I wasn't quite sure how velvety would translate... :) It does look like it, so maybe that's the one! Oh, and how much room did the vines take up? I may be able to track that info. down elsewhere, but since you actually grew that variety...

And thanks, jrw. I did a search on Yama and Yama sweet potato, but just got a mish-mash of stuff. What is Yama's?



    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 10:01PM
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bella_trix(z6b SE PA)

Unfortunately, I had as bad a year with voles as Sand Hill did. My one surviving Korean Purple is being saved for slips, so I had to refer to my notes from last year for texture. I classified the texture of the varieties as "smooth" (I assume like velvety) or "more potato like", which I'm guessing meant dry in texture like a regular potato. I listed Korean Purple as "smooth", so I'm guessing Sand Hill's is different from the one you have in the supermarket.

As for the vines, I don't remember them spreading that far. But, I plant everything too close and all the varieties together, so it is hard to remember exactly. Here is a picture of the patch in August. It does spread to about four feet wide (two plants next to each other). A few of the varieties took off over the compost pile, but Korean Purple was not one of them.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 11:36PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Thanks, Bella! Hmmm, I'm a little sad to hear that Korean Purple may not be my sought-after variety, but I had a thought. Maybe it has to do with the preparation method? Yours look to be baked whole, and mine are always slice in half or chunks and roasted. I plan on going to market this evening, so will pick up a bunch of my precious... erm, nice sweets to experiment with. And I'll try to grow some slips. I'd still like to know what the variety is called, though.

I like your picture- look at all those different leaf textures! And for some reason, the thought of some varieties taking off over the compost heap made me giggle. Thanks a bunch!


    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 12:41PM
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Most sweetpotatoes are heavy vining plants that spread to cover an area about 8 to 10 ft in diameter. You don't have to give them that much room to grow, but this is the size that gives the largest roots.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 1:52PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Thanks, Dar! I was thinking that since the vines need to be lifted anyway, maybe I could let them wander through my beans for extra room, sort of a la 3 sisters method? They can help with weed suppression that way, too! Or maybe just trim some ends for a little stir-fry veggie... Mmmm, getting hungry again...


    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 3:41PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Ok, I went to the Asian market and bought myself some... "Yama Yams". Which look like the variety I was talking about on the outside, but are much more yellow upon being cut open. They also cooked moister. Taste? Well, I have a honkin' bad cold and taste isn't something I can really... do... right now. I think it is pretty similar, but it's hard to say. Anyway, from having done more research, I would have to say that these are not "Yama-imo" but rather a type of "Satsuma-imo" in the Japanese parlance(a Yama is not a sweet potato, ipomacea, but another type of plant altogether). An-nd, I'm beginning to feel conifdent that if I were to purchase something with "Korean" or "Japanese" or even "Oriental" in the name, I would get tubers that would more or less satisfy me. Why go to all this trouble trying to track down a certain sweet potato? 'Cause when you find a veggie you REALLY like, it is so worth it! So one more set of thanks to everyone!



    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 5:22PM
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Sunni, I think what you are looking for is called a Japanese Red. I grow them every year here in Florida with great success. I order my seedlings from tatorman.com, and have never been let down. The seedlings are shipped out around mid April. Hope that helps...Farmer Joe in Florida..

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 8:02PM
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MeriClone Labs is open again after a hiatus. Please visit our website to see our available varieties.


Evan William
MeriClone Labs

Here is a link that might be useful: MeriClone Labs Sweet Potato Plants

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 5:40PM
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