Photo Credit: Steve Johnson
Post by Contributing Writer, Nada
My dream is to become a farmer. Just a Bohemian guy pulling up his own sweet potatoes for dinner.
When I first tried them, I didn’t like them at all. “This isn’t what a potato is supposed to taste like!,” I thought. But now, several years after my first experience, I can honestly say that I could forgo almost any other fruit and/or vegetable if I could keep my humble sweet potato. It’s probably one of the most versatile and healthiest roots on the market. The crazy thing is, you probably don’t even realize its true potential!
There are several varieties of sweet potato, ranging in color from the traditional cheerful orange, to creamy white, bright pink, and deep purple. Today we’re going to stick with the traditional orange. Sweet potatoes have smooth brownish skins and are usually no longer than your hand.
And no, we’re not talking about yams! Yams actually come from a completely different food group, and they have a scaly purpleish skin. What’s more, yams can grow as long as 7 feet! Sweet potatoes stay a little more modest.
They’re also a super food! Sweet potatoes pack quite a punch when it comes to vitamin A — carrots’ claim to fame for keeping your eyes, skin and immune system healthy! A half a cup of raw carrots contains 184% of your daily intake of vitamin A, but our buddy the sweet potato contains 327%, almost double the amount! It also has a great amount of vitamin C and manganese.
Photo Credit: Robin
When picking a sweet potato, look for firm, medium-sized sweet potatoes that are tapered at both ends. Look for smooth, unbruised skins without cracks. When bringing them home, do not put them in the refrigerator — sweet potatoes are naturally grown in warmer climates and cold temperatures do not do well for them, altering their taste. They do not need to be stored in a dark cold cellar like regular potatoes. Instead, store them in the cupboard, where they can get plenty of air.
As I said before, the posibilities for sweet potatoes are endless. You can bake them, broil them, mash them, fry them… but did you know you can eat them raw?! They taste like a sweetened carrot and are great for kids with a little dip. My most recent discovery is their potential in vegetable juice. Yup, that’s right — you can juice a sweet potato! I have been enjoying that delicious little treat a lot lately.
Photo Credit: Katharine Shilcutt
My daughter Naomi’s favorite trick with a sweet potato is to have sweet potato fries. They’re an excellent alternative to eating regular french fries made out of less nutritious white potatoes. Here’s how we like to do it:
Sweet Potato Fries
- 1 – 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into strips (if you wash the potato beforehand, be sure to dry it completely before cutting or else the oil won’t stick)
- 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
- coarse sea salt
- seasoning salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a container with a lid, mix together the potatoes, oil and seasonings. Put on the lid and shake well, to get the potato pieces completely covered. They should be shiny, not dripping. If necessary, add a little more oil.
Place on a cookie sheet and move to separate the pieces as best as possible. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. Flip, and continue baking for another 10 minutes.
Nada is a first-time mom to a delightful little girl and the wife to a wise and wonderful man. With a background in fitness and nutrition, she enjoys healthy cooking, green cleaning and especially writing, and has acquired a vast knowledge of interesting little facts… about everything! She aspires to be a Godly woman that her daughter is proud to call “Mom” and through her blog, miniMOMist, she discusses how attachment parenting, minimalism, simplicity and frugal living help in her everyday mission.