The sweet potato, a root vegetable native to the Americas, is a distant cousin of the potato. The taste is starchy, but sweet.
Look for potatoes that have smooth skin without soft spots, holes, or blemishes. Sweet potatoes are susceptible to spoilage. If you harvest your own you want to store them in the ground for a few hours. To retain moisture, you can also wrap them in black polythene and set them out in the sun for 5 days before storing. To store, wrap sweet potatoes individually in newspaper and store for a month in a cellar or fridge at around 50 degrees.
Using cold water, scrub each potato with a brush. The skin is edible, but peeling can be performed with a potato peeler or paring knife. The American South is famous for sweet potato pie with pecans.