Twenty years ago, our Almanac declared sweet potatoes to be the “healthiest vegetable of them all.” This fleshy root vegetable is indeed highly nutritional, low in calories, and, for the chef, it is easier than pie to use.
Sweet Potato Facts and Benefits
- “There is one thing that a sweet potato is not. And that is a potato.” Since sweet potatoes are unrelated to white potatoes, the two should not be used as substitutes when cooking.
- The tropical origin of the plant means that it is drought-/heat-tolerant and susceptible to very few pests and diseases. Sweet potatoes grow best in the South but can be cultivated in northern climates as well. For more information on growing and planting sweet potatoes, click here.
- Benefits of the sweet potato include high levels of Vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, and dietary fiber. Especially important is the high percentage of beta-carotene found in sweet potatoes. This is converted into Vitamin A, which has the ability to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
- Sweet potatoes should not be refrigerated unless they have already been cooked. Refrigeration prior to cooking will harden the core of the vegetable and create sunken spots. This will lead the vegetable to spoil much faster than at if it had been at room temperature.
- Sweet potatoes taste best when baked. They can be scrubbed, poked with a fork, and baked at 400°F for 35 minutes to an hour, until they give a little when you squeeze them.
Pecan-Crusted Sweet Potato Casserole.
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