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Sweet Potatoes are Packed with Nutrients

Sweet potatoes are easy to fix vegetables that are very nutritious!

Nashville, Ark. – Sweet potatoes are a popular fall vegetable. Sweet potatoes are native to Central America, but have been grown and enjoyed in the southern United States since the 16th century. They are economical, delicious, nutritious and easy to prepare. Just one cup of cooked sweet potato provides 30mg of beta carotene (Vitamin A).

            They are also a great source of vitamin E and they are virtually fat free. Just two-thirds of a cup of sweet potatoes provides 100 percent of the USRDA for Vitamin E without the unwanted fat that is many times associated with this vitamin. They also supply small amounts of the B vitamins and other minerals, including potassium and iron. And they are a great source of dietary fiber which helps promote a healthy digestive tract.

            When selecting sweet potatoes, choose those that are firm, smooth, reasonably clean and free from blemishes. Healed scars do not injure the flesh of the sweet potato, but moisture or decay spots indicate flesh damage and off-flavors.

            Some sweet potatoes have copper-colored skins, others have light tan skins and some have rosy-red skins. All have yellow to deep orange flesh. After cooking, copper and red skinned varieties usually are softer than the lighter colored sweet potatoes.

            Sweet potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry place and used within a few days. Refrigerator storage of any type is not recommended. It slows sprouting but causes the starch to turn to sugar. If you grow your own sweet potatoes, let them cure for about 10 days before cooking them. Freshly dug or uncured potatoes are better boiled and used in dishes that include fruit or syrup.

            Sweet potatoes have a rich full flavor of their own which makes them ideal to bake without added ingredients. If you like sweet potatoes baked, it isn’t necessary to wrap them in foil. Cooking them in foil will produce a steamed potato. For best texture and flavor, scrub the potatoes well, poke a fork into them a time or two to allow steam to escape and, if desired, lightly oil the surface. Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes or until fork tender. You can also bake them in the microwave oven. Wash, pierce and place on a paper towel. Cook on high for 5-9 minutes for two potatoes. Let stand for 3 minutes.

            When boiling sweet potatoes, be sure to cook them in their jackets. This will prevent some of the sweetness from being dissolved in the water. The skin will be easy to remove and will take less of the potato with it when peeled. Since Vitamin C is easily destroyed by air, cook sweet potatoes quickly and serve hot to prevent nutrient loss.

            Typical seasonings for sweet potatoes include small amounts of butter or brown sugar, apple, orange or pineapple juice, orange peel, nutmeg, cinnamon or ginger.

            If you have never tried sweet potatoes, I encourage to try this favorite fall vegetable. If you would like a fact sheet on sweet potatoes, contact the Howard County Extension Service at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse. Ask for the Arkansas Fresh Fact Sheet on Sweet Potatoes.

Recipe of the Week

            Here is a great recipe for enjoying sweet potatoes. It is low in calories and tastes great!

Glazed Sweet Potatoes

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch thick slices

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon brown sugar

½ cup orange juice

½ cup water

            Preheat oven to 425⁰F. Spray a 1-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place potato slices in the prepared baking dish.

            In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, brown sugar, orange juice and water. Stir well. Pour mixture over potato slices. Cover and bake for 40 minutes or until potato slices are tender and glaze is thickened.

            Yield: 8 servings

Nutrition Information per ½ cup serving: Calories 90, Sodium 33 mg, Carbohydrate 21g, Fiber 2g

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

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