Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sweet Potato - How sweet it is!

How sweet it is to eat sweet potatoes! 

Many people think about sweet potatoes as being nothing more than plain old potatoes that can perk our taste buds with some extra flavor. 

Yet research on sweet potatoes tells us that they have so many unique nutritional benefits to offer!

Among these benefits are antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and blood sugar-regulating nutrients. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin B6, a good source of vitamin C, contain Vitamin D, iron, and are a good source of mag­nesium and potassium. They are high in carotenoids, have natural sugars that slowly get released into the bloodstream, and so much more...
Not only are sweet potatoes inexpensive, filling, delicious, and readily available all year long, they are one of the most versatile foods available. You can eat them roasted, puréed, steamed, baked, or grilled. You can add them to soups and stews, grill and place them on top of leafy greens for a delicious salad, make sweet potato hash browns and baked fries, and they can even be added to smoothies, baked goods, and wraps.
This week I experimented a lot with sweet potatoes. To begin with, I steamed them whole and stored them in the fridge, and over several days I found myself and members of my family adding some to our vegetable salads, seaweed wraps, soups, or just grabbing one and eating it plain, 'on the go', to keep from being hungry.

I also made a number of dishes, such as the following below:

Steamed and mashed sweet potatoes & carrots, with raisins, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, dates - sweet and delicious.

Cubed and steamed sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchini & red pepper with vinaigrette dressing - yum.

Finely chopped (in food processor) sweet potato, sauteed with brown rice, lentils (already cooked) and raisins mixed in, seasoned with, garlic, curry, ginger, cumin, pepper & cinnamon - a very Middle Eastern flavor and very tasty.

Sweet potato/quinoa burgers, with sauteed shallots & garlic, tomato paste, and seasoning - Google for a variety of recipes - healthy, filling & amazing.

Sweet potatoes don't have to take a long time to prepare. Cutting them into 1/2-inch slices and steaming them for just 7 minutes not only brings out their great flavor, but helps to maximize their nutritional value. 
You can also make sweet potato spaghetti in the spiral vegetable slicer, which is really easy and comes out great. I would recommend lightly sauteing with coconut, olive or flax seed oil.

How to Select and Store

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 affects their taste.

Ideally, sweet potatoes should be kept out of the refrigerator, loose, and stored in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place away from sources of excess heat, where they will keep fresh for up to ten days.

For even more information on Sweet Potatoes, check out www.ncsweetpotatoes.com where you'll find loads of tips, recipes and so many great ideas for your next meal or gathering.

Enjoy and wishing you excellent health, today and always!