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Friday, March 24, 2017

How Sweet Potato It Is

The Sweet Potato: (Ipomoea batatas) This edible, starchy tuber has yellow or orange flesh and its thin skin is either be white, yellow, orange, red or purple. Sometimes this root vegetable will be shaped like a potato– short and blocky with rounded ends–while other times it will be longer with tapered ends.

There is often much confusion between sweet potatoes and yams; the moist-fleshed, orange-colored root vegetable that is often called a “yam” is actually a sweet potato.

A cousin to the morning glory this is one of the many Native American plants found by Columbus and his shipmates. Although it was probably found on various islands of the West Indies on some of the earlier voyages, it is not mentioned in their records until their fourth voyage. Sweet potatoes were cultivated in Virginia in 1648, possibly earlier, and are said to have been taken into New England in 1764. They were grown by the American Indians in the Southern United States. In the South they are generally preferred to Irish potatoes as a staple food; in the North the reverse is true.

While researching this delicious food, I was truly amazed that there are more than 100 varieties. Sweet potato leaves are a common side dish in Taiwanese cuisine, often boiled with garlic and vegetable oil and dashed with salt before serving.

For Your Health: Sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta carotene (a vitamin A equivalent nutrient), vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Sweet potatoes contain unique root storage proteins that have been observed to have significant antioxidant capacities. In one study, these proteins had about one-third the antioxidant activity of glutathione–one of the body’s most impressive internally produced antioxidants. Although future studies are needed in this area, count on these root proteins to help explain sweet potatoes’ healing properties.

ECO-ISTA® Tip: You can find these “Jewell(s)” being harvested from early September through late November at our local Farmer’s Markets.

Sweet Potato Fries
2 large Sweet Potatoes washed and patted dry
1 tbsp of Queen Creek Blood Orange Olive Oil or try Queen Creek Truffle Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Cut the sweet potatoes into half-inch strips or wedges and toss in the oil and salt. Arrange in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet. Place in oven for 30 minutes, turning once.

Sweet Potato Pancakes
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
3 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground Nutmeg
1 1/4 cups Sweet Potatoes peeled, cooked and mashed
2 organic Eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups organic 1% milk
1/4 cup Meyenberg Goat Milk Butter, melted Organic Grade B Maple Syrup

Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Combine the sweet potatoes, eggs, milk and butter; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Drop by tablespoons onto hot non-reactive griddle or skillet and fry, turning once, until browned on both sides. Finish with warm syrup. Thank goodness for fal … Makes about 24 pancakes.

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