To update my earlier post, in last year’s taste tests, Bonita was, quite surprisingly, the highest scoring sweet potato of all. It had the most 1st place votes, and the few people that didn’t rank it 1st (of about 20 varieties) ranked it very close to 1st. It was really outstanding! However, as I noted above it was definitely not at all outstanding the year before. I’m still trying to figure out why it would be so different from year to year. I plan to do this year’s carefully controlled side-by-side taste test within the next couple weeks.
Gem, another variety with which I don’t have as many years of experience, has also risen in the taste tests. It wasn’t up to the level of Nancy Hall or Porto Rico or last year’s Bonita or Red Japanese or White Triumph…, but it was quite good, probably the best of the common modern supermarket colored varieties, without the awful (as a baked potato) baby food texture and with an interesting, slightly unusual flavor for a sweet potato that made me think of butternut squash. It definitely stood out well above Beauregard and Covington and Carolina Ruby, and the ones I’ve eaten this year seem pretty good, too. And it was an exceptionally pretty, bright orange color.