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We have recipe ideas, cooking tips, and an amazing recipe!Did you know that November is sweet potato awareness month? Some people aren't fans
of sweet potatoes but this vegetable is so versatile even the pickiest of eaters may
find a recipe they enjoy. Baked sweet potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, mashed sweet
potatoes, sweet potato pie; the options are endless for enjoying this versatile fall
While people may think that the names sweet potato and yams are the same, they are
not. Yams grow underground from a vine and can look similar to a sweet potato. Often
yams look more cylindrical with thick skin, have toes sprouting from them and can
get as large as 7 feet long and 150 pounds! Sweet potatoes grow on trailing vines
that quickly cover the soil and root at the nodes. Sweet potatoes have a thin skin.
When choosing sweet potatoes to cook, choose ones that are firm, small to medium in
size with a smooth skin and uniform color. Avoid potatoes with cracks, soft spots
or blemishes in the skin. Store them in a cool, dark, dry place to be used within
two to four weeks. Avoid storing sweet potatoes in the refrigerator because it will
result in a hard center and unpleasant taste.
You can enjoy them baked, broiled, grilled, roasted, or boiled and mashed. You can
eat sweet potatoes as fries, chips, or cube them for stews and soups. To prepare sweet
potatoes, always wash them first even if they look clean.
Sweet potatoes are loaded in nutrients and are naturally fat-free, low in sodium,
and cholesterol free. They are high in vitamins A and C. Vitamin A helps maintain
eye health and Vitamin C helps to fight infections. Sweet potatoes may also help to
reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Sweet potatoes are also a good
source of potassium, magnesium, and fiber. Potassium helps maintain healthy blood
pressure, magnesium helps build and maintain strong bones, and fiber helps control
cholesterol and keeps you regular.
When eating sweet potatoes, try to keep sugar and butter to a minimum. Both of these
additions add unwanted calories and fat. A medium sized sweet potato, 2 inches in
diameter and 5 inches long, has about 100 calories with 24 g carbohydrate, and 3.8
g dietary fiber.
Here is a holiday favorite for Thanksgiving. This recipe is lower in calories, but
still tastes great. It was adapted from USDA MyPlate Kitchen.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, mash sweet potatoes.
Add in remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.
Spray an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick spray.
Pour mixture into baking dish.
Bake for 40 minutes or until set.
Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Tip: Top with chopped pecans or walnuts for crunch. Yield: 6 servings
*Note: You may use 3-4 raw potatoes. Peel and chop sweet potatoes, cover with water
in a saucepan and boil until tender. Drain water.
Nutrition Information per Serving: Calories-232, Total Fat-3 g, Protein-9g, Carbohydrates
-42g, Fiber-3g, Sodium-155mg
Plan on enjoying sweet potatoes in many of your fall meals. For more information on
meal planning, nutrition, food safety, health, physical activity, finances or family
well-being, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517 or visit our
office located on the second floor of the courthouse. Be sure to like us on Facebook
Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff Chair