My parents and older siblings spent several years in Peru before I was born. And they ate a lot of sweet potatoes because they were cheap and plentiful.
Sweet potatoes are good sources of carbohydrates, fiber, micronutrients, vitamins A and C and riboflavin. Because sweet potatoes are rich in natural sugars and starches, they are higher in calories than similar vegetables such as pumpkin.
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Facts About the Amazing Sweet Potato
Some interesting facts about the delicious and curious root vegetable:
- Despite its name, the sweet potato is not related to the potato.
- Despite a physical similarity, sweet potatoes and yams are not related either.
- The sweet potato belongs to the morning glory family, which has funnel-shaped flowers (usually white and purple) that grow on a vine. The roots of many of these vines can be used as food.
- Most sweet potato production is in the southern United States.
- There are more than 8,000 varieties of sweet potato.
Ways to Prepare Sweet Potatoes
My mom said they used to steam sweet potatoes, then add butter and salt.
Sometimes, they would bake them just like white potatoes. For a special treat, they would melt mini marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes. We still enjoy this delicious dish at Thanksgiving each year.
The American Institute for Cancer Research suggests the following uses of sweet potatoes on their website:
“Cubes of fresh squash, pumpkin or sweet potatoes are delicious in stir-fries and stews, and mix well with many different flavor combinations. All three choices are also terrific roasted in the oven, either alone or with other vegetables, drizzled with just a bit of olive oil; and you can cook them by steaming as well.”
Sweet Potato Pie
For many years, I avoided sweet potato pie. For some reason, I thought I wouldn’t like it. After all, why would you make pie from a potato? Boy, was I wrong. It was delicious!
I think you might enjoy it too. (This would be a yummy option for a Thanksgiving potluck.)
- 1⁄3 cup butter or 1⁄3 cup margarine, softened
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3⁄4 cup evaporated milk
- 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 9-inch unbaked pie shell
Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs; mix well. Add milk, sweet potatoes, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; mix well.
Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F; bake 35-40 minutes longer or until knife comes out clean.
Store in refrigerator.
Sweet Potato Wedges
- 3 sweet potatoes
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 400 F. Peel sweet potatoes; cut in half crosswise and then into wedges about 1 inch wide. Crush garlic clove in its skin.
On a rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with garlic, olive oil, thyme, crushed red pepper and salt. Roast about 30 minutes until soft. For crispy wedges, try turning on the broiler for a couple of minutes at the end of the bake time.