any kinds of roots of wild
and cultivated species appear in mercados, but the two below are among the most commonly
is the everyday sweet potato. It develops on a native American vine, Ipomoea
batatas, of the Morning-glory Family, and thus was important to the earliest
Americans. Besides boiling, cutting them into chunks and offering them from open tubs in mercados
(samples shown at the right), and roasting them, Mexicans candy sweet potatoes with brown
sugar and cinnamon, creating the Mexican specialty dulce de camote. The famous camote
poblano of Puebla is made of boiled sweet potato passed through a sieve, flavored and
colored, sometimes decorated with pulverized sugar, and then packed into little boxes, in
which they are sold.
or yam bean, shown heaped in a mercado doorway at the right, is a white root of the genus Pachyrrhizus
in the bean family. The plant is a native of tropical America, and thus certainly an
important plant to the original Mexicans.