For a long time sweet potatoes were seen as something exotic. However, this era seems to have ended. Nowadays you can find sweet potatoes in almost every grocery store. This development brings us not only great culinary advantages, but also many health advantages.
What You Should Know About Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are only superficially related to potatoes. They look similar in shape and can be prepared in similar ways. However, botanically they are not even a distant relative to the potato. Sweet potatoes are also called batatas. Their color varies depending on the variety. There are sweet potatoes with yellowish, orange or deep red skin. The pulp can be almost white to yellowish, orange or salmon colored. From Italy there is a newer breed called the "white batata". It is similar with light brown skin and white flesh.
To flourish, sweet potatoes need a lot of heat, which is why they are mainly grown in countries with plenty of sunshine, mild climate and long summers. Popular areas for growing sweet potatoes are mainly in some states of the USA, the Caribbean, Israel, Africa and Brazil. The harvest is done only partly by machine. Since sweet potatoes have a thin and delicate skin they have to be collected by hand from fields and transported in buckets to large storage tanks. They are stored in air-conditioned spaces so you can store the potatoes up to 12 months. A defined season for sweet potatoes does not exist; therefore, they are available throughout the year.
Origin: The original home of sweet potatoes is in South America. To this day botanists do not agree exactly where they came from. What is certain is that the Spanish conquistadors brought them to Europe from South America.
Taste: Sweet potatoes taste like somewhat floury potatoes but as the name suggests slightly sweet.
How Healthy Are Sweet Potatoes Really?
Sweet potatoes contain almost no fat and are therefore, despite being relatively high in calories, good for people watching their figure. Like all vegetables and fruits with red pulp, they have an especially high content of phytochemicals such as carotenoids and anthocyanins. These are highly effective antioxidants that protect our cells against free radicals. When it comes to sweet potatoes the old rule that the more color a vegetable has, the healthier it is definitely goes. For women who want children and expectant mothers, sweet potatoes are particularly good because they contain significant amounts of natural folic acid, which promotes the healthy development of the embryo and embryonic cells. In addition, sweet potatoes have a high amount of minerals and trace elements such as manganese, copper and iron. They also contain the vitamins B2, B6, E and H (Biotin).
|Nutritional information per 100 grams/3.5 oz of sweet potato|
|Protein||1.6g/ 0.05 oz|
|Fat||0.6g/ 0.02 oz|
|Carbohydrates||24 g/ 0.8 oz|
|Dietary Fiber||3.1g/ 0.1 oz|
EAT SMARTER Recommendation For Sweet Potatoes
Normally a whole sweet potato needs, depending on the size, about 30-45 minutes to cook. However, you can shorten this time considerably. Stab the unpeeled sweet potato a few times with a fork. Then cook it on the highest level for 4-8 minutes in the microwave.
Shopping And Cooking Tips For Sweet Potatoes
Shopping: Uniformly colored and firm sweet potatoes have the most nutrients and also taste best. Don’t buy too many at once because after 1-2 weeks they lose their nutritional value and flavor.
Storage: Sweet potatoes do not need to kept in the fridge. You can store them at room temperature in a dry place.
Preparation: Sweet potatoes keep most of their flavor and nutritional value if you cook them while they are unpeeled. If you would like to try this, you simply need to clean them first under running water. You can, of course, peel them like a regular potato and then cook them. Caution: If you want to keep sweet potatoes for a while after cooking them, you should keep them in fresh water. Otherwise, they may become discolored.
Cooking Tips For Sweet Potatoes:
Just like potatoes, sweet potatoes are a vegetable for just about any event. They taste good, whether they are cooked, fried, roasted or baked. They work perfectly with meat and poultry as well as fish, other vegetables or eggs. Sweet potatoes do well in the stew, fried, mashed or in soups and salads. Sweet potatoes for creams, breads, cakes and pie are all worth a try!
Because they are so sweet, sweet potatoes are incidentally popular with children and even babies. Try making our baked sweet potato or our sweet potato purée for your children.
If you are looking to snack on something, you can even enjoy raw sweet potatoes, aas opposed to regular potatoes. You could also try some raw sweet potato in your next salad!