Now that there is a chill in the air, certain “Cold weather” foods come to mind. One in particular is the sweet potato. Sweet Potatoes are a staple at Thanksgiving. However, they are quickly becoming a popular choice year-round for a nutritious tasty side dish. Sweet potato fries are often replacing French fries on many restaurant menus.
Sweet Potatoes are high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that transforms into Vitamin A. It is also a good source of B vitamins. Sweet potatoes are an excellent choice for children and adults who are picky eaters. Sweet potatoes are inexpensive, and they have a long shelf life.
The easiest way to prepare a sweet potato is in the microwave. Wash the outside thoroughly and be sure to prick the outside with a fork. Pricking is important; if you forget this step, you will have the unbridled joy of cleaning sweet potato off the top, sides and door to your microwave. How long to cook it depends on the size of the sweet potato. Begin with 2 to 3 minutes, and adjust accordingly. For even cooking, you may want to turn the sweet potato about half way through. The sweet potato will be done when it is not hard, but has a “mushy” feel and a fork easily pierces the skin.
Once the sweet potato is cooked, you have numerous consumption options: Slit the potato open and add butter cinnamon and sugar and enjoy. For a different twist, you could substitute pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice for the cinnamon for a more flavorful treat. Scoop out the pulp to use in your favorite sweet potato casserole or sweet potato pie recipe. Baked sweet potatoes that are cool and well mashed are also a healthy and inexpensive alternative to jarred commercial baby food sweet potatoes.
Fresh sweet potatoes are readily available year round, and have a long shelf life. They do not have to be refrigerated and are quick and easy to cook. Do your body and your taste buds a favor and enjoy them all year!