Sweet potato are often considered a second-cousin in the tuber family. However, their fantastic nutrition and great taste should elevate their status to the top of the pack.
Related to the morning glory, sweet potatoes are grown across the globe and are a starchy root vegetable. Although commonly thought of in its orange form, they also come in purple and white varieties.
The nutritional benefits can be inferred by their vibrant appearance. High in carbohydrates, the most common form of sweet potato also contain nearly 800% of the daily allowance of Vitamin A and supply at least half of Vitamin C and manganese needs. Weighing in with over 6.5 grams of both soluble and insoluble fiber, they are also great for keeping digestive tracks clean.
The orange color indicates the presence of both cancer-fighting antioxidants and a greater-than-average supply of beta-carotene, the same component which allows carrots to support good vision.
Finally, compounds commonly found in sweet potatoes, can enhance your immune system, reduce inflammation, and allow your brain to function at peak capacity.
This post is sponsored by Garden Spot Vegetable Farm. Located in Princeville, Illinois, owner, Jim Buckley and his family, cultivate 34 acres of vegetables and 375 fruit trees. Garden Spot is a no-spray farm, offering a variety of CSA packages. Check their Facebook page for current programs and options for available produce.
Look at the color on the skin of the potato.
Orange or Red skins mean a potato with moister, sweeter, softer consistency after cooking. This is probably the variety most commonly thought of when considering a sweet potato.
Tan skinned sweet potatoes are starchier than the red/orange varieties. The cooked consistency will be drier and more like that of a russet potato.
Both tan and red/orange sweet potatoes are often erroneously labeled as yams at grocers. They are not. It is not common to find a true yam at a store in the United States. If you want to try a yam, then head to your closest international food market. You may find them there.
You store a sweet potato in a very similar fashion to a conventional baking or russet potato. Place them in a dry, dark place. Aim for a space where the temperature ranges between 45-55 degrees. My pantry is in our basement next to an exterior wall. I also quite successfully used our enclosed front porch in past years.
Stay away from damp areas. You can wrap them in newspaper for an extra layer of insulation if the spot you choose is prone to getting particularly cold – like under an internal stairway or on an enclosed front or back porch.
I purchase a case of sweet potatoes right at the end of the season (just as cold winter temperatures set in) and can safely store them for about four weeks.
Because of their high sugar content, the sweet varieties will not be as shelf stable as other potato varieties and will need to be used more quickly.
Preserving Sweet Potatoes
I have quite successfully roasted sweet potatoes and then cubed and frozen them in the past. Roast until just cooked through and then cube, removing the outside skin as you chop. Flash freeze the cubes and then place in freezer bags. (For step-by-step flash freezing instructions, click here.)
It is helpful to not over-cook or the flesh will be too soft to cube. If this happens, don’t panic. Simply go ahead and mash the flesh and store it flat in freezer bags.
Be sure to label and date the bag. You would be surprised at how similar orange winter squash and sweet potato look after being frozen for a few weeks. I’ve had to hazard a guess and hope that I am right when creating recipes in the middle of winter. It’s a good thing that in most recipes squash and sweet potatoes are at least moderately interchangeable.
Sweet potatoes are the perfect addition to both sweet and savory dishes, as a tasty main ingredient in everything from main dishes to desserts.
- Black Bean Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Vegan Sour Cream
- Sweet Potato Black Bean Veggie Burgers