Super Food #9: Sweet Potatoes

Sweet-Potato-940x626[1]Thanksgiving is over and that means the next time you eat sweet potatoes is in about a year from now. Right? Wrong! Your mission is go to the grocery store right now, okay, when you go the next time, and get yourself and family some fresh sweet potatoes. Local farms in southern New Jersey are digging them in their fields this time of the year and supplying to farm markets and grocery stores around our area.

Coming in as #9 on the Top 10 list of super foods, sweet potatoes are one of those vegetables that needs to make the rounds in your menu planning and should be hitting your plate at least once a week or more. Sweet potatoes, a member of the dark orange vegetable family, leads the pack in vitamin A content but also is loaded with vitamin C, calcium, and potassium.

Try substituting a baked sweet potato for a baked white potato next time. A baked sweet potato will lend your plate a developed sweetness, nothing needs to be added to change or better the flavor. No salt or butter necessary. Compare that to a baked white potato that is usually loaded with fatting toppings, such as butter, sour cream and/or cheese. You know what the healthier choice is.

How do you cook a sweet potato? It’s easy!

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400°F (°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil.
Step 2: Scrub the skin of the potatoes clean. Use a vegetable brush and running water to remove any dirt and grime off the skin of the sweet potatoes.
Step 3: Pierce the exterior of each sweet potato. Use the tines of a fork to make holes in the skin of each potato, piercing the potato three or four times. Place the pierced sweet potatoes on the prepared baking sheet.
Step 4: Bake the uncovered sweet potatoes in the oven. The sweet potatoes need to bake until they become tender, which will usually take between 45 – 60 minutes.
Step 5: Soften the flesh. Place each sweet potato inside a clean kitchen towel. Roll the potato on the counter, pressing on it gently. Doing so loosens the flesh inside.
Step 6: Cut open each sweet potato. Use a knife to slit open each potato from one end to the other.
And there you have it…

Now don’t forget, the next time you are walking through the produce section at the grocery store or hitting the local farmers market find room in your basket for this easy to cook super food. Sweet potatoes… It’s what’s for dinner!

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