That title could also have an addition “even though they aren’t a family favorite.” I’ve only started to enjoy sweet potatoes in the last couple years and only one of the children has learned to like them as well, but today I’m sharing why we eat them anyway. First, let’s learn a little more about them.
What are Sweet Potatoes
I’m breaking it to you right up front that yams and sweet potatoes are not the same thing. They are not even remotely close, and those cans that say “yams”? They’re usually sweet potatoes.
The sweet potato is a large starchy root vegetable that is a member of the morning glory family versus the nightshade family (as white potatoes are). We most often find the orange-colored sweet potato but sometimes you can get white/creamy colored, red, pink, yellow, or deep purple sweet potatoes. These Stokes sweet potatoes taste pretty awesome.
Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and manganese. They also have a healthy dose of dietary fiber. These are the reasons we’ve added sweet potatoes to our diets (whether we liked it or not). Eating fresh produce has such great health benefits and is a good way to get our vitamins naturally.
Growing Sweet Potatoes
Like I mentioned above, sweet potatoes are a root vegetable in the morning glory family so they grow underground. Unlike a white potato plant the sweet potato plant is a vining plant. I will not be attempting to grow these as they prefer to grow in warmer climates. If you live in an area suitable for growing sweet potatoes, you can check out this informative resource.
How to Choose Sweet Potatoes
When you buy sweet potatoes at the grocery store stay away from them if they are stored in the refrigerated area. I’ve rarely seen them kept that way as it isn’t how they keep best. You want to pick sweet potatoes that are firm and free from brown or soft spots or cracks. Once you get them home keep them in a well ventilated dark area, NOT the refrigerator. I have a kitchen drawer near the floor that I keep mine in because it has a little sliding lid with ventilation holes. Wasn’t sure what belonged in it but I wasn’t putting a loaf of bread in that big old drawer so potatoes, onions, and garlic found a home there and they stay so well.
How to Use Sweet Potatoes
I look at introducing new produce into our family’s diet as a journey. This journey started almost 4 years ago with these sweet and spicy sweet potatoes. Those potatoes need a new photo op! Since then I’ve chopped them small like carrots and added them to soups, mixed a few into mashed potatoes, served them straight up as baked sweet potatoes, and, of course, made them as a healthier Thanksgiving dinner side that doesn’t require marshmallows or heaping spoonfuls of sugar. In fact, my family prefers my Thanksgiving recipe to marshmallow topped sweet potato casserole.
You can bake, grill, boil, or steam sweet potatoes just as you would white potatoes, but keep in mind they can take a little longer than white potatoes. I usually end up baking them about 15 minutes longer.
Sweet Potato Recipes
This week isn’t the best for new recipes when we all have turkey, stuffing, and all the sides on the brain so I will share a super simple appetizer recipe with you on Wednesday instead of Thursday.