There are a lot of reasons to love these two vegetables, but do you know all of the differences between butternut squash vs sweet potato? Both a vibrant orange in color, butternut squash and sweet potato have a similar taste and texture. But what other things bring them together, and what differences separate them from one another?
In this article, we will compare and contrast butternut squash with sweet potato so that you can fully understand both of them as individual crops. We will go over what they look like physically as well as what they are typically used for, and we’ll even give you some nutritional information. Let’s get started and learn all about sweet potato and butternut squash now!
Comparing Butternut Squash vs Sweet Potato
|Butternut Squash||Sweet Potato|
|Classification||Cucurbita moschata||Ipomoea batatas|
|Description||Smooth, tan skin covers beautiful orange squash inside. Shaped with a narrow top and large bottom half, full of seeds and pulp. Tastes nutty and delicate, with a sweetness that is similar to pumpkin.||Reddish brown skin covers orange-white flesh within. Varies in size and shape, but often oblong and heavy. Taste is sweet and starchy, with plenty of flavor.|
|Uses||Popularly roasted, steamed, sauteed, or mashed. A great substitute for pumpkin or mashed potatoes, and it also works well in breads, muffins, and pies||Extremely popular as a healthier potato substitute. Made into fries, mashed potatoes, and more- used around the world in a variety of cuisines|
|Nutrition Information||A great source of Vitamin A and C, as well as sweetness with fewer calories||A great source of fiber and beta-carotene, as well as Vitamin A|
|Special Features and Fun Facts||Originated in the year 1940, but is now the most popularly consumed winter squash variety!||A member of the morning glory family, not the traditional potato family!|
Key Differences Between Butternut Squash vs Sweet Potato
There are a number of key differences between butternut squash and sweet potato. For example, butternut squash and sweet potato belong to very different plant families. In addition, the skin of the sweet potato is much more delicate compared to the thick skin of the butternut squash. Finally, the average sweet potato contains more calories compared to the average butternut squash.
Let’s go over all of these differences in more detail now.
Butternut Squash vs Sweet Potato: Classification
Despite their similarities in flavor and color, butternut squash and sweet potato belong to very different plant families from one another. For example, butternut squash belongs to the winter squash family, while sweet potato belongs to the morning glory family. Looking at their classifications in more detail, butternut squash is classified as Cucurbita moschata, while sweet potato is classified as Ipomoea batatas.
Butternut Squash vs Sweet Potato: Description
If you happened to look at a bowl of prepared butternut squash and a bowl of prepared sweet potato side by side, you likely couldn’t tell the difference between the meat of both of these vegetables. Both sweet potatoes and butternut squash come in a vibrant orange color, though some varieties of sweet potato are cream or white in color.
From the outside, butternut squash has a unique shape to it, with a wider base compared to a narrow neck, while sweet potatoes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The rind of the average butternut squash is much thicker compared to the skin of the average sweet potato. Finally, butternut squash contains seeds inside, while sweet potato does not. The flavor profile of butternut squash and sweet potato is very similar, with a mild sweetness, though butternut squash is nuttier in flavor compared to the sweet taste of sweet potato.
Butternut Squash vs Sweet Potato: Uses
You can use butternut squash and sweet potato in a number of similar ways, as they are both fantastic substitutes for pumpkin. However, sweet potato is more widely used around the world compared to butternut squash. You can mash both of these options or roast them, though sweet potatoes are often made into fries which is not how butternut squash is commonly prepared.
Butternut Squash vs Sweet Potato: Nutrition Information
It’s worthwhile to incorporate butternut squash and sweet potato into your diet given the number of fantastic vitamins and minerals found in both of these vegetables. For example, sweet potato and butternut squash are high in beta-carotene, given their unique orange coloring. However, butternut squash is lower in calories, carbs, and sugar compared to the average sweet potato.
Besides beta-carotene, butternut squash and sweet potato are also high in vitamin A and vitamin C. Choosing either of these options over the average potato tends to help with a variety of health concerns, including diabetes and heart disease. Plus, both of these vegetables contain a flavorful amount of mild sweetness and work well in both sweet and savory dishes!
Butternut Squash vs Sweet Potato: Special Features
There are some undeniable similarities between butternut squash and sweet potato, mostly regarding their flavors. But did you know that butternut squash is a fairly recent variety of winter squash, while sweet potato has been around for much longer? In fact, butternut squash was created in the 1940s, while sweet potato has been grown around the world for hundreds of years.
Speaking of sweet potatoes, did you know that sweet potatoes are not actually members of the common potato family? This answer may surprise you, but sweet potatoes are actually members of the morning glory family, also known as Convolvulaceae. This leads to their unique blooms and vines as they grow, so you should definitely consider growing sweet potatoes in your own backyard!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Koval Nadiya
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