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Enjoy Fall Sweet Potatoes

Want an easy to prepare, nutrition-filled vegetable? Try sweet potatoes!

Nashville, Ark. – Sweet potatoes are at the peak of their season. Whether you enjoy them candied, baked, mashed or as fries, sweet potatoes are packed with lots of vitamins and minerals. Sweet potatoes are a root vegetable which, believe it or not, is a cousin of the morning glory. Sweet potatoes originated in Central America and came to the southern United States in the 16th century. In the Northern states, they are referred to as yams.

            When purchasing sweet potatoes, choose roots with a deep orange color. Select firm, well-shaped potatoes with smooth, bright, uniform colored skins. Avoid ones with holes or cuts which lead to decay.

            Store your potatoes at room temperature. Do not refrigerate them as it can affect the taste. When dug, it is best to wait about 10 days before you start using the potatoes to give them time to cure. If you must eat them right away, they are better boiled and used in dishes that include fruit or syrup.

            Sweet potatoes need to be scrubbed before cooking them. Clean under cool water to remove any dirt and debris. To bake sweet potatoes, scrub them and then dry completely. Rub them lightly with oil. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees and bake until soft. You may bake them in the microwave. Just pierce skin with a fork and bake as you would a white potato. Scoop out the flesh, once they are cooked and enjoy.

            Try eating the baked sweet potato with a small amount of butter or brown sugar, apple, orange or pineapple juice, orange peel, nutmeg, cinnamon or ginger.

            Sweet potatoes are often referred to as a nutritional powerhouse because they are high in beta-carotene- an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. They are a good source of vitamin B-6, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and dietary fiber.

            Now is the time to add sweet potatoes back into your diet. They are easy to prepare, taste great and are packed with nutrition. For more information on using sweet potatoes in your meal planning, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse.

Recipe of the Week

            This recipe is a healthier version of the traditional candied sweet potatoes. They have only 90 calories per ½ cup serving and are a great accompaniment to also any meal.

Glazed Sweet Potatoes

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch thick slices

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

½ cup orange juice

½ cup water

            Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 1-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place potato slices in the prepared baking dish.

            In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, brown sugar, orange juice and water. Stir well. Pour mixture over potato slices.

            Cover and bake for 40 minutes or until potato slices are tender and glaze is thickened. Yield: 8 servings

Nutrition information per serving: 90 calories, 0 fat, 33 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517
jince@uaex.edu

 

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