Sweet potatoes are hot and happening right now. We can almost not find a recipe that can be made with this superb veggie or can be substituted by it. You might ask yourself, why? Well, let me enlighten your world with some facts on this orange root vegetable.
Sweet potatoes are, unlike the name may tell you, not a carbohydrate. One piece does actually count towards your 5-a-day while it might feel as if you are actually eating something starchy.
Sweet potatoes are also known as batata or yams. In the southern parts of the USA it is frequently used in stews, Canadians use it to make healthy fries and we see the vegetable a lot in Suriname dishes. Unlike the “white potatoes” sweet potatoes do not contain any starches or carbohydrates for it is a vegetable. Also, our orange friend contains four essential micronutrients: vitamin C, potassium, manganese and thiamine, which are a must for our bodies.
Speaking of vitamin C, sweet potatoes contain over 70% of our reference intake, which is double of what a regular potato contains. As we know, vitamin C boosts our immune system and protects our nervous system, it is required to maintain our teeth and gums, psychological functions and it helps our bodies absorb iron.
So far: good good good.
How about that ‘hype’?
Okay, so far we have discussed all the great parts of the sweet potato, but of course there is also a downside to this vegetable. Sweet potatoes contain a sugar called raffinose, this is a substance that can cause flatulence because it cannot be processed until it has reached your colon. The amount of raffinose does differ per type of sweet potato and it also depends on the thickness of the veggie and how you prepare it.
But if that is the only consequence for eating sweet potatoes now and then… 😉
What to do with them?
Use sweet potatoes for your regular stew, mash them, make fries with them, bake them, or anything else you would make with a white potato. The way of preparation is almost the same, so no hassle there!
Ever heard of dulce de batata? It is a traditional jelly-like dessert from South America based on the “yams”. It is usually eaten with cheese to balance out the flavours, but some people also put chocolate or vanilla in it.
Don’t fancy a bite? If you mix the juice of a red sweet potato with lime juice you can make a dye for cloth. This colour can be anything between light pink and black depending on the ratio of the juices. And if you want an easy and cheap way to clean out your aquarium and keep your fish happy: sweet potato vines grow roots real quickly in water. Especially when the water contains ammonia and nitrates, because this fuels the roots of the vines. Not only does the root system clean out your fish tank, it also provides shelter for your fish (or a hiding place).
Easy Sweet Potato Fries from the Oven
- One large sweet potato
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil
- Cayenne pepper or chilli flakes
Pre-heat your oven to about 220°C. Line a baking tray with grease free paper. Now you cut your sweet potato: first cut slices of about 1 cm thick, turn them on their sides and cut the slices into French fries-like pieces. Toss them in a bowl with a good dash of olive oil. Spread the fries on the baking tray and sprinkle the cayenne pepper or chilli flakes on it (be careful! This can be quite spicy). Put the tray in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the fries every 7 minutes or so. When the fries are finished put them on a nice plate or in a large cup, sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper and serve with a sauce of your liking (I looooove mayonnaise). Voìla!
Have you ever tried sweet potatoes before? Tell me about your favourite recipe!