The World's Healthiest Foods

Cooking Healthy with Sweet Potatoes

Many feel that a holiday meal is just not complete without sweet potatoes. This versatile, nutrient-rich vegetable can be prepared in so many different ways, serving as a soup, side vegetable or even a pie for dessert.

Mothers swear by sweet potatoes as a great starter food for young children. Easy to prepare, sweet potatoes are delicious, nutritious and filling simply baked and served mashed with a little milk and olive oil or butter. Children love their sweet flavor, while mothers appreciate their immune-boosting concentration of pro-vitamin A.

Here are a few tips for selecting and serving sweet potatoes:

  1. Sweet potatoes are grouped into two different categories depending upon the texture they have when cooked: some are firm, dry, and mealy, while others are soft and moist. In both types, the taste is starchy and sweet with different varieties having different unique tastes.
  2. The moist-fleshed, orange-colored root vegetable that is often thought of as a "yam" is actually a sweet potato. It was given this name after this variety of sweet potato was introduced into the United States in the mid-20th century in order to distinguish it from the white-fleshed sweet potato to which most people were accustomed.
  3. Choose sweet potatoes that are firm and do not have any cracks, bruises or soft spots. Avoid those that are displayed in the refrigerated section of the produce department since cold temperature negatively alters their taste.
  4. Uncooked sweet potatoes should not be kept in the refrigerator. Store them in a cool, dark and well-ventilated place, where they will keep fresh for up to 10 days. They should be stored loose and not kept in a plastic bag. Keep them away from exposure to sunlight or temperatures above 60F since this will cause them to sprout or ferment.
  5. Sweet potatoes are versatile. They can be baked, roasted, steamed or braised with other winter ingredients. They can be peeled or cooked with the peels. They can be cubed, mashed, or served whole.

Following are some of my favorite dishes with sweet potatoes: