You don't have to wait until Thanksgiving to enjoy sweet potatoes -- in a salad, as a side dish, or for dessert.
When They Are Available
Sweet potatoes are available sporadically year-round, but they're at their sweetest in fall and winter. They are sometimes mislabeled as yams, which are actually not widely available in North America.
What to Look For
Choose sweet potatoes that are very firm, with no areas of softening, sprouting, or wrinkling -- all signs of age. Sweet potatoes vary quite a bit in size and shape. Those that are straighter and uniform in size are easiest to peel and cut.
How to Store
Sweet potatoes should never be kept in the refrigerator, as their natural sugars will convert to starch, making them less sweet. They will keep for up to three weeks in a cool, dry place.