Nutrition Facts, Selection & Storage Tips
Sweet Potato Varieties
Many people use the terms sweet potato and yam interchangeably. However, they are different vegetables and sweet potatoes are much more nutritious. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin A (beta carotene) and Vitamin C.
These powerful antioxidants have healing properties that have been known to play a role in reducing inflammation and restoring cells. These antioxidants can also help conditions such as arthritis, asthma and diabetes, as well as aid to prevent conditions such as emphysema, heart disease and even colon cancer.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) ranked the sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegetables. “Points were given for content of dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Points were deducted for fat content (especially saturated fat), sodium, cholesterol, added refined sugars and caffeine. The higher the score, the more nutritious the food.”
Baked sweet potato was awarded a score of 184 points, while the second best vegetable (baked potato) received only 83 points. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of manganese, copper, dietary fiber, Vitamin B6, potassium and iron.
Choose sweet potatoes that are without cracks or soft spots. They should be firm to the touch. The sweet potato has yellow or orange flesh inside, but its thin skin can be yellow, orange, red, brown, white or even purple.
Store sweet potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place. They should keep fresh for about a week. Don’t place them in the refrigerator but rather in a well-ventilated but cool cupboard.
Prepare sweet potatoes whole if possible because most of their nutrients are near the skins. The skins are very easy to remove after they have been cooked. You can top baked sweet potatoes with butter and salt, or brown sugar and cinnamon if you prefer.
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Before cooking, wash the sweet potatoes well. Brush each potato with vegetable oil. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pierce the skin with a fork. Place on oven rack and bake for 40-50 minutes until tender. Remove from oven and prick with fork to release steam.
Microwave Sweet Potatoes
Wash and pierce the sweet potatoes. Place the potatoes on a paper towel in microwave oven. Cook two sweet potatoes on high for 6-8 minutes. More potatoes will obviously take longer.
Boiled Sweet Potatoes
Wash and pierce the sweet potatoes. Place whole potatoes in a large pot. Cover completely with water. Boil approximately 30 minutes for 5 medium sweet potatoes.by