Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Food thoughts: Sweet potatoes

Oh, you don't even know the love I have for sweet potatoes. I just can't begin to describe it. I could eat a sweet potato at every meal! There is so much you can do with this wonderful vegetable!

First, it's a nutritional powerhouse! Plus it tastes incredible. What more could you ask for? Here is a rundown of it's goodness: Loaded with Vitamins A & C, tons of manganese, good amount of fiber, B6, potassium and iron, AND a sweet potato averages about 95 calories per potato. Sweet! Don't forget to leave the skin on and enjoy it's great flavor for most of these great nutrients! Wait, there's more! Sweet potatoes are a natural anti-inflammatory food and the work to fight free radicals in our bodies.

I use to love sweet potato casserole. Loaded with brown sugar, butter, marshmallows and whatever else might tickle your taste buds. However, the way I eat my veggies has changed significantly over the last several years. I don't like my vegetable doctored up. I like them lightly seasoned! I love the rich flavors that come for vegetables when you add just a little salt or olive oil or honey. Sweet potatoes are no different.

My favorite way to eat a sweet potato is baked, at 400 degrees for about an hour, wrapped in foil with a little EVOO and sea salt on top. Once it comes out I cut it open and add just a little honey and cinnamon. Oh so good!!! I do know that it's not always practical to think ahead an hour and then wait for a sweet potato. Take heart! The microwave is excellent at cooking potatoes. I wash the potato well, jab it with a fork several times, wrap it in a paper towel and microwave on high for 5 to 6 minutes. Voila! It won't be as crispy, but it's still delicious :)

There are several things you can so with sweet potatoes (mash em, fry em, stick em in a stew...anyone?!):
*Try making a sweet potato puree as a side dish. Cook and mash a sweet potato, add some honey or maple syrup, cinnamon and a mashed banana.
*You could try using sweet potatoes in a roasted winter vegetable medely. Chop evenly sweet potatoes and any winter squash(s). Oil and season lightly. Spread on a cookie sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender.
*Sweet potatoes make great desserts! Sweet potato pie, breads or muffins!
*Slice a sweet potato very thin or into sticks to make sweet potato chips or fries! Oil and salt before you bake them.

When you purchase sweet potatoes, look for firm potatoes with no bruises or cracks. Store in a cool, dry place. Oh and don't buy sweet potatoes that are located in the refrigerated section. Cold negatively affects the taste. They can last 10 to 2 weeks. Plus, now is a great time to purchase sweet potatoes - they are always on sale around the holidays!

For more information and to see where I get most of my vegetable knowledge, check out the World's Healthiest Foods website : It just so happens that their healthiest food spotlight this week is on sweet potatoes!!!


Baby Hancock said...

I LOVE sweet potato fries! One of my favorites!!!

Courtney said...

I attempted to make sweet potato chips a few weeks ago. (I thought Austin might eat them more eagerly than your average sweet potato.) They were distinctively unsuccessful. I'd love some pointers for success.

mama cindy said...

Your love of sweet potato's is no surprise to me. You have loved them from the first time you had them, I think it was about 5 months.

Jen said...

I just threw some in a chicken and veggie chowder last week, FANTASTIC. Also did mashed sweet potatoes with green onion and a touch of maple syrup...yummy yummy.