Living Well

Celebrate Sweet Potatoes

This Season, Let's Celebrate With Sweet Potatoes

There are actually hundreds of varieties of sweet potato and the most common type is what we typically think of when we think ‘sweet potato’: orange skin with orange flesh.

Sweet potatoes are a nutrient dense veggie that can be incorporated into many different meals and snacks. One sweet potato, about 5 inches in length, provides 4 grams of fiber, over 300% the Daily Value for vitamin A, and is a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, copper, and manganese.  Fiber promotes heart health and gut health as well as weight management.  Vitamin A helps support a healthy immune system and vitamin B6 play roles in metabolism and the creation of red blood cells and neurotransmitters.  Potassium aids in fluid balance and blood pressure, copper plays roles in bone health, and manganese helps the body to use other vitamins and minerals.  With so many nutritional benefits, sweet potatoes are a superfood!

When selecting sweet potatoes, make sure they are firm and free of blemishes.  Fun fact:  Sweet potatoes have a shorter shelf life than white potatoes!  Always wash the sweet potatoes with cool water prior to cooking and use a scrubbing brush if needed.  

Here are the many ways you can prepare sweet potatoes according to the U.S. Sweet Potato Council: 

  1. Bake: Prick several times with a fork and bake at 400° F for 40 to 50 minutes or until tender.
  2. Microwave: Prick several times and microwave on high power for 4 to 6 minutes or until tender. Turn halfway through cooking time. For more than one, select sweet potatoes similar in size and increase cooking time. 
  3. Steam: In a steamer, bring 1 1/2-inches of water to a boil.  Place whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes in steamer basket, cover and steam for 40 to 50 minutes or until tender. To shorten cooking time to 30 minutes, peel and cut into 1-inch cubes. 
  4. Sauté: Peel and cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick slices or 1-inch cubes. Place pieces and 2 tablespoons butter or oil in a large skillet and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat until tender.
  5. Fry: Peel and cut into lengthwise strips about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Place in oil that has been heated to 365° F. Fry until brown and tender. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel.
  6. Roast: Cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick slices or 1-inch cubes. Place pieces and 2 tablespoons butter or oil on a large sheet pan and roast at 425 degrees F in the oven, stirring frequently, until tender.
  7. Grill: Slice lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place on grill. Turn once. Remove when tender.
  8. Fresh: Yes, Fresh!  Peel and cut into sticks and serve with your favorite dip, or grate and toss in a salad. To prevent cut sweet potatoes from turning brown, immediately rinse pieces in cold water. Place cut sweet potatoes in ice water or in a plastic bag with ice and refrigerate until ready to serve. They will remain crisp for up to four days. 

Once tender, sweet potatoes can be mashed and served as a side dish or used in recipes that calls for pumpkin such as in pie or pancakes!  Think beyond the traditional sweet potato casserole with brown sugar and marshmallows with these sweet potato recipes.