I think it could be said that most of us think about organic sweet potatoes primarily from October through December and oh, the ways we think about using them!
There are the well-known candied sweet potatoes, prepared with all sorts of sweet ingredients like brown sugar, maple syrup, or molasses, topped with marshmallows, and even orange juice can be found in some candied recipes that many of us enjoy around the holidays. Or if you come from the South, you no doubt grew up with sweet potato pie. The list goes on and on…but what about the rest of the year? As the holidays’ rich meals start adding up and the New Year approaches, you may want to rethink organic sweet potatoes as a regular healthy addition to your daily diet. After all, they are a great source of fiber, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and complex carbohydrates.
Check this out: one baked sweet potato (3-1/2 ounce serving) provides about twice the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of vitamin A – over 8,800 IU, and provides 42 percent of the RDA of vitamin C. Furthermore, a 3 -1/2 ounce serving is about a 1/3 the size of a normal sweet potato, so as you can see, just adding one of these to your daily meals can have a sweet and healthy impact. If you are looking for ways to eat sweet potatoes other than candied, how about some oven-roasted sweet potato fries as an alternative to regular fries? Or bake a few extra when you are baking them whole for dinner and pack them cold for lunch the next day. Since they are loaded with complex carbohydrates they will provide you with a sustainable boost of energy throughout the afternoon. Or why not try them for breakfast like they do in the Dominican Republic or rural Kentucky? If you are looking for something to have around the house to dip your veggies in that is lower in fat that other dips like hummus, then try this Sweet Potato Butter recipe. This can also be used as a spread to go with your favorite wrap ingredients.
Sweet Potato Butter
2 garlic cloves
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Melissa’s Organic Sweet Potatoes
Fine sea salt, to taste
2 medium carrots
1/2 to 3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (optional)
Place unpeeled garlic cloves on aluminum foil and bake in an oven or toaster oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes, until soft. Microwave or boil unpeeled potatoes until done. Peel carrots, cut into large chunks and microwave or boil until soft. Drain carrots, peel potatoes and place both in a food processor. Squeeze the baked garlic out of their jackets and add to food processor, along with 1/2-cup broth, and blend. With the motor running, add oil and keep blending, adding more broth until purée is fairly smooth and full. Add salt and pepper to taste. Dip can be made as long as a day in advance, then covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature for serving and stir in the optional herbs, right before serving with raw vegetables and bread sticks. Makes 6 servings.
Now that I have you thinking about using sweet potatoes more often, why not try something other than Jewel and Garnet, the two most common soft fleshed sweet potato varieties that are found in most stores today? Try a Melissa’s O’Henry, O’Leary or Hannah sweet potato for a change of pace. All of these are a bit firmer and dryer than Jewels or Garnets. The Hannah has an oblong shape, with a smooth off-white-tan-creamy exterior. The flesh has a light yellow tone that is tender, slightly sweet yet somewhat dry. O’Leary has a cream colored skin, with a golden flesh that is smooth and stringless. Its flavor has been described as a rich flavor reminiscent of nuts and honey. Like the Hannah, O’Henry is slightly drier than other sweet potatoes and bakes up perfectly. Many folks who normally don’t care for sweet potatoes like these varieties because the texture is closer to that of a regular potato and the flavors are a little less sweet than their softer cousins. They are also great in a casseroles.
If you like sweet potatoes but are short on time, then try Melissa’s Organic Baby Sweet Potatoes and Yams – Baby Jewel Yams, Baby Garnet Yams, Baby Sweet Potatoes – these may include the following varieties O’Henry, Hannah and Hannah Gold, based on best of the season that’s available.) These bite-sized beauties have all the flavor and nutrition of the larger versions, but cook up in a flash. If this sounds right for you, look for these wherever you buy your other Melissa’s organic produce. Whatever variety you choose, I’m sure you will be glad you added these to your year round menu.