Healthy Recipe

By Lucy Parker Watkins
Adapted from Vegetarian Baby and Child Online Magazine

Sweet potatoes are more than just the mush under colored marshmallows at your family's Thanksgiving dinner. These colorful root vegetables are a nutritional powerhouse offering a high level of beta carotene, a variety of uses, and great flavor that requires little, if any, seasoning. Sweet potatoes are different from yams in that they have a smooth, thin skin, and a short blocky body with tapered ends.

According the Texas A&M's Horticulture Department, one baked sweet potato yields:

"...over 8,800 IU of vitamin A or about twice the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), yet it contains only 141 calories making it valuable for the weight watcher. This nutritious vegetable provides 42 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, 6 percent of the RDA for calcium, 10 percent of the RDA for iron, and 8 percent of the RDA for thiamine for healthy adults. It is low in sodium and is a good source of fiber and other important vitamins and minerals."

Sweet potatoes should be stored in a dark, cool, dry environment. Refrigerating sweet potatoes is a crime against humanity and worthy of a lightening strike. Refrigeration alters the flavor of sweet potatoes to such a degree it will turn off even the greatest of sweet potato fans. Moist, cooked sweet potato dishes, however, can be frozen for later use.

Like any other potato, sweet potatoes can be baked, boiled, microwaved, or fried. They make excellent French fries and an even better mashed potato. Raw sweet potatoes make a great juice to drink straight, or use cooked ones as the base in your morning smoothie as shown in Dr. Hull's August '05 Healthy Recipe. They always go nicely with carrots and orange juices.

Most importantly, sweet potatoes have a wonderful, natural sweetness that requires no additional seasoning. All of these recipes can be eaten as is, without butter or sugar. Give it a try!

RECIPES:

Plain Ol' Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes, sliced or cubed.
1 - 1 1/2 cups water

Slice or cube sweet potatoes. Combine sweet potatoes and water in pot. Cover and bring to a low boil. Cook until soft.

Variations:
Add baby carrots while cooking potatoes. Top with Mandarin oranges (if canned, rinse), navel oranges, or honey tangerines.

Mash cooked sweet potatoes (and carrots). Add approx 1/4 c orange juice if moisture is needed.

This recipe can be microwaved using the same ingredients, but less water. Cover with lid (slightly open) and cook approx 5-7 minutes or until soft.

Baked Sweet Potato

1 large sweet potato, rinsed and scrubbed.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (C). Prick potato a few times with a fork. Put in oven and bake (watching closely) approx 1 hour.

This can also be made in the microwave using a covered microwavable dish. Cook for approx 10 minutes.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

3 large sweet potatoes, cut into strips (with skins)
Olive Oil spray
Sea Salt or Real Salt

Cut sweet potatoes into strips. Spray with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and toss. Put sweet potato strips on a cookie sheet covered with wrinkled foil. Bake at 350 degrees (C) for 8 minutes. Toss again. Bake for 8 more minutes or until crisp. You can also use this same recipe for sweet potato chips. Just slice and bake.

Posted February 2006 | Permanent Link

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