What The White Ooze From Sweet Potatoes Actually Is

Sweet potatoes are like the fun cousin at the reunion or that one friend who seems to know everyone everywhere you go. Sweet potatoes are just as deliciously comfortable on a fancy thanksgiving dinner table as they are fried, fresh out of the airfryer, salty, and lathered in ketchup as they are in a whole pie that you're eating by yourself armed with nothing but your dignity and an extra large spoon.

As you find yourself looking up recipes online, and you begin to cut into your first bright orange sweet potato, it may be a bit surprising when you see little drops of thick, white ooze coming from your cuts. Initially, it may be off-putting, but it's actually indicative of a healthy potato and a flavorful meal.

FoodsGuy explains that this thick, white, sticky liquid is just a mixture of sugar and water from the sweet potato leaking a bit after getting excited by the prospect of being part of such a delicious meal. Damaged sweet potato flesh (either by bruising, cutting, or some other preparation method) can sometimes secrete this sap, and it is completely safe to consume. These may indicate they're good for sweet potato smoothies or other delicious recipes. It's ultimately sweet in taste, but what does it actually mean?

The signs in the white ooze

The sap is not only safe to consume, but some food experts even claim that the more the sweet potato secretes, the sweeter its overall flavor is. The more sugar and water are present in the sweet potato, the more sap the potato will secrete. The sap is also indicative of freshness, as sweet potatoes dry out over time, meaning the juicier your potato is, the fresher it must be (via Cooking Chew). Also, according to FoodsGuy, studies and surveys have found that sweet potatoes grown en masse are significantly less sappy than their organic counterparts. Still, whether the lack of sap in mass-grown sweet potatoes is due to pesticide usage, genetic modification, or some other factor is unknown.

If you cut into your potato and find some of the flesh is not stained white by the sap but instead is actually white itself, you may have stumbled upon a mislabeled yam. According to MerchDope, yams are often mislabeled in North America, and so often people will find sweet potatoes and yams mixed together at the grocery store. No matter if you see it coming out of a yam or sweet potato, don't be afraid to taste the white liquid, as it's completely safe to digest, even if just to have a better understanding of the food you're cooking and consuming. Just as some ingredients can change your sweet potatoes forever, so might this white ooze change how you view this vegetable.