You may be used to seeing sweet potatoes soaked in sugar and syrup on the Thanksgiving table, but its starchy texture and slightly sweet taste make it a versatile vegetable that can be served year round.
The sweet potato–November’s Harvest of the Month–is a root vegetable, also known as a tuber. Despite its name, it is not closely related to white potatoes. In parts of U.S. they are sometimes called yams, though this is a misnomer and yams are a different species of tuber.
During the month of November, you may find sweet potatoes used more abundantly in a variety of recipes from our cafeterias.
Did You Know?
- In parts of North America sweet potatoes are referred to as yams, but they are completely unrelated to African and Caribbean yams.
- Sweet potatoes, as we know them, are native to Central America, but many cultures around the world grow their own variety of sweet potatoes.
- A sweet potato festival is held annually in Varadaman, Mississippi
Try These Delicious Recipes
How to Buy, Store & Prepare: Sweet potatoes can be purchased year round at grocery stores and markets, though they are in peak season from October through December. When buying sweet potatoes, avoid those that have dark spots and those that have been punctured or are missing skin. Sweet potatoes should be stored in cool, dry, ventilated areas. Avoid storing sweet potatoes in the refrigerator.
Sweet potatoes are often used as substitutes for traditional white potatoes. Consider trying them mashed, baked, fried, or in casseroles. Additionally, sweet potatoes are often substitutes for pumpkin and can be found in the Southern classic, sweet potato pie.
Making it Kid-Friendly: Sweet potatoes are generally well accepted by children. It is a helpful rule of thumb to offer a traditional sweet potato flavor first, before offering a dish with added sugar, such as sweet potato casserole. If your kids tend to reject plain sweet potatoes, or those cooked in a savory fashion, consider adding cinnamon to make them appear sweeter.
Nutrition and Health Benefits: Sweet potatoes are often perceived to be “healthier” potatoes. This is only partially true. Both sweet potatoes and white potatoes have their own unique benefits. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A. The compound that turns them bright orange is called beta-carotene, a power anti-oxidant and precursor to vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are also rich in potassium, which can help with blood pressure regulation and ease muscle cramps.
|Calories: 86||Fiber: 3g|
|Total Fat: 0g||Protein: 2g|
|Total Carbohydrate: 20g||Calcium: 8% DV|
|Vitamin A: 300% DV||Vitamin B-6: 15% DV|
|Magnesium: 8% DV|