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Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are one of nature's nutritional masterpieces, and, because of their sweet taste and soft, orange flesh, they can be baked into countless recipes.

Nutritional Highlights

  • For vitamin A, which helps promote healthy eyes and eyesight, it's hard to find a better source than sweet potatoes. One medium-sized sweet potato (140 grams) packs more than 150 percent of your Daily Value (DV) of this vi tamin.
  • Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin C—140 grams yields 30 percent of your DV of this essential antioxidant, which helps repair body tissue
    and heal wounds.
  • There's plenty of fiber in a sweet potato, which aids your digestion in moving
    along steadily.
  • And sweet potatoes are good source of potassium, a mineral that helps balance
    out some of the effects of sodium on blood pressure.
  • History

    Native Americans were the first to taste the sweet potato, and it quickly became one
    of their staple foods. It is often confused with the yam, but the two are not the same. Yams come from Africa and Asia, originally, and tend to be larger and starchier than sweet potatoes. But somewhere along the line, the two got confused (they look similar,
    to be fair), and today many varieties of sweet potatoes are marketed as yams, though that's rarely what they really are. Besides, sweet potatoes are far more nutritionally valuable than yams.

    Varieties

    There are many varieties of sweet potato, whose flesh can be orange (the most
    common color), yellow, white, brown, reddish or even purple. The darker the flesh,
    the sweeter it tends to be.

    When are Sweet Potatoes in Season?

    Sweet potatoes are abundant all year, with a peak season between October and December, just in time for Thanksgiving.

    How to Choose Sweet Potatoes

    A good sweet potato doesn't have to be pretty. Many of the best ones are asymmetrical, twisted or lumpy-looking. What's essential is that the potato is firm and unbruised, with
    no mushy or moist spots.

    How to Store Sweet Potatoes

    Keep your sweet potatoes in a cool, dark place, like a pantry or cabinet. Don't refrigerate them, since this will only make them spoil. Sweet potatoes generally need to be eaten within a week of purchase.

    How to Prepare Sweet Potatoes

    Most recipes call for sweet potatoes to be baked. First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Next, wash and scrub the sweet potato, and poke holes in its skin with a fork (this will let hot steam escape during baking). Now lay your sweet potatoes on a baking tray and cook them for about 45 minutes. When done, they will be very hot, so give them at least 15 minutes to cool. Baking them softens the moist flesh, making it tender and delicious.

    Key Measurements

    Typically, recipes call for either whole potatoes (baked) or cups of baked sweet potato flesh.

    Substitutions

    Try swapping out sweet potatoes for yams or, if you're making a pie, mashed pumpkin.

    Sweet Potatoes in Recipes

    Baked sweet potatoes have a million and one uses, but the most popular one just might be this Healthified Sweet Potato Casserole, a Thanksgiving classic.

    Of course, sweet potatoes are very versatile and don't have to be baked. They can be cubed and grilled, like in these Pork and Sweet Potato Kabobs.

    If you're looking for a hot snack, then toss together some tender Asian-Style Oven-Fried Sweet Potatoes, which will have you licking your fingers clean.

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