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Sweet Potatoes Are the New Potato (With Some Major Exceptions)

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How many pounds of potatoes would you guess the average American eats per year?

(Before you shout a number, remember: It's potato salad season. And before that, it was mashed potato season. And patatas bravas is always in season.)

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14 New Ways to Show Off Potatoes

14 New Ways to Show Off Potatoes by Laura Beam

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Our Semi-Definitive Guide to Potato Salads

Our Semi-Definitive Guide to Potato Salads by Sarah Jampel

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The answer: 113.7 pounds. 113.7! But it's not so much when you consider that the average American eats 1996 pounds of food per year, including 185 pounds of meat and poultry, 273 pounds of fruit, and 42 pounds of corn syrup. And when you consider that we ate even more potatoes back in 2006: 125.4 pounds per average.

Since then, demand has slowed—but not on the sweeter side of things. As Bloomberg reports, Americans are eating twice as many sweet potatoes as we did in 2002: The number is at 7.5 pounds of sweet potatoes in 2015, up from 3.7 pounds in 2002.

And it's not only us. The U.S. is the biggest exporter of sweet potatoes in the world (though China is the biggest producer), and as demand in Europe surges to an all-time high, farmers are preparing to plant their biggest crop in 50 years to keep up.

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Down & Dirty: Sweet Potatoes and Yams

Down & Dirty: Sweet Potatoes and Yams by Nozlee Samadzadeh

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Purple Sweet Potatoes and How to Use Them

Purple Sweet Potatoes and How to Use Them by Lindsay-Jean Hard

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If all this buzz has you jumping to substitute sweet potatoes for the regular guys at every chance, don't carried away just yet.

As The Farmer's Almanac advises,

As a general rule, don’t substitute sweet potatoes for regular potatoes in recipes; the two aren’t related. Sweet potatoes don’t hold together the way potatoes do, and their strong flavor can overwhelm a dish meant for a milder potato taste. But they make a fine substitute for pumpkin, especially in desserts.

Obviously, you'll want to think about your desired texture and flavor before swapping sweet potatoes in for potatoes willy-nilly. Sweet potatoes have less starch and more sugar: They're softer and squishier with (excuse the obvious) a more pronounced flavor.

Despite the difference, there are still some dishes—latkes, fritters, mashes, salads—that can accommodate both. But before making a 1:1 swap, you'll still want to consider the recipe and anticipate the final product. A sweet potato salad might not be bad, but it could be mushier, and maybe it takes more to a vinaigrette than a mayo-based dressing.

In honor of the up-and-coming sweet potato, our mini-guide to potato swap do's and don'ts:

Pick your potato! Go hip or go square:

Rolls

Sweet Potato Rolls

Sweet Potato Rolls by Posie Harwood

Mama's Potato Clover Rolls

Mama's Potato Clover Rolls by Erin McDowell

Fries

Southwestern Spiced Sweet Potato Fries with Chili-Cilantro Sour Cream

Southwestern Spiced Sweet Potato Fries with Chili-Cilantr... by TasteFood

Patricia Wells' Fake Frites

Patricia Wells' Fake Frites by Genius Recipes

Latkes

Sweet Potato Parsnip Latkes with Feta and Leeks

Sweet Potato Parsnip Latkes with Feta and Leeks by deensiebat

How to Make Latkes Without a Recipe

How to Make Latkes Without a Recipe by Brette Warshaw

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Hash browns

Sweet Potato Maple Hash Browns

Sweet Potato Maple Hash Browns by Kendra Vaculin

Josh Ozersky's 3-Minute Hash Browns

Josh Ozersky's 3-Minute Hash Browns by Genius Recipes

Fritters and patties

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Cakes

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Cakes by Gena Hamshaw

Bert Greene's Potato Scallion Cakes (Fritterra)

Bert Greene's Potato Scallion Cakes (Fritterra) by Genius Recipes

Mashes

Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes by Gena Hamshaw

Diane Morgan's Classic Mashed Potatoes

Diane Morgan's Classic Mashed Potatoes by Genius Recipes

"Gratin'd"

Sweet Potato and Pancetta Gratin

Sweet Potato and Pancetta Gratin by cnevertz

Todd Coleman's Potato Gratin

Todd Coleman's Potato Gratin by Genius Recipes

Baked and loaded

Roasted Sweet Potato with Chickpeas, Goat Cheese, and Coriander

Roasted Sweet Potato with Chickpeas, Goat Cheese, and Cor... by Renee Kemps

Baked Potatoes Stuffed with Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese

Baked Potatoes Stuffed with Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese by Merrill Stubbs

Stick to the recommended potato:

Deborah Madison's Sweet Potato Flan
Deborah Madison's Sweet Potato Flan
Sweet Potato Waffles, Sweet or Savory
Sweet Potato Waffles, Sweet or Savory
Mbatata (Sweet Potato Cookies)
Mbatata (Sweet Potato Cookies)
Edna Lewis & Scott Peacock's Sweet Potato Casserole
Edna Lewis & Scott Peacock's Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet Potato Rolls with Bacon and Brown Sugar Butter
Sweet Potato Rolls with Bacon and Brown Sugar Butter
Sweet Potato Pie
Sweet Potato Pie
Vegan Sweet Potato Biscuits
Vegan Sweet Potato Biscuits
 Sweet Potato Casserole with Brown Sugar Fluff
Sweet Potato Casserole with Brown Sugar Fluff
Patatas Bravas
Patatas Bravas
Whole Grain Sweet Potato Muffins
Whole Grain Sweet Potato Muffins
Sweet Potato Biscuit Pillows with Honey and Coconut Oil
Sweet Potato Biscuit Pillows with Honey and Coconut Oil
Jerry Traunfeld's Root Ribbons with Sage

Jerry Traunfeld's Root Ribbons with Sage by Genius Recipes

Martha Stewart's Sweet Potato, Celery, and Apple Salad

Martha Stewart's Sweet Potato, Celery, and Apple Salad by Genius Recipes

Spanish Tortilla
Spanish Tortilla

Where's your favorite place to swap in sweet potatoes for potatoes? Tell us in the comments!