One Big Mistake People Tend To Make With Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes may very well be one of the only vegetables that nobody minds finding on their plate. This delectable root — it's not actually a potato, despite its misleading name, per Food Network — has a sugary taste and so many health benefits that Insider reported that the Center for Science in the Public Interest once crowned it the most nutritious veggie on the globe. Fortunately, sweet potatoes can also be baked into almost any dish.

For example, sweet potatoes will help you whip up pancakes infused with fall flavors. And adding a sweet potato to your homemade queso will pack some extra flavor and nutrition into a dip classic. But before you start baking great-tasting sweet potato recipes, you first have to purchase some from your local grocery store's produce section. And if you're thoughtlessly picking out your sweet potatoes without checking them, you may very well be making a mistake that will lead you to bake with imperfect produce.

Here's how to make sure you aren't buying bad sweet potatoes

Most of us know the sure signs that our favorite produce has gone bad. But while many people may make an effort to steer clear of brown-spotted apples and squishy tomatoes, Taste of Home reports some shoppers tend to unknowingly buy low-quality sweet potatoes. If the sweet potatoes in your cart are full of bruises and cuts or are no longer firm and have sprouts blossoming all over them (per A Table of Joy), you better put those veggies back. Because while some ugly produce can have more nutrients than their more attractive counterparts, these are all tells that your sweet potatoes are almost at their expiration date (or past it).

However, both outlets did note that if only a few parts of a sweet potato are bad you can still use it. You'll simply need to cut the bad places off first. A Table of Joy even stated that if you have a green thumb you can plant a sweet potato that's slightly covered in sprouts. But if you are making a very sweet potato-heavy recipe and aren't planning on starting a garden anytime soon, we recommend getting fresh, healthy-looking sweet potatoes.