Making a come back in modern healthy cooking, Sweet Potatoes, through their orange pigmentation, possess a spud-trumpeting talent to protect your health, supplying beta-carotene (and other nutrients) in abundant quantity and quality. In addition, sweet potatoes' starch causes the body's blood sugars to release more slowly than potatoes' starch, giving you sustained energy rather than a sugar crash. Good old potatoes are super in every other way for their deliciousness, versatility and basic carb-based energy, but they just don't hold a candle to sweet potatoes for what they can deliver in the health department. (Incidentally, no botanical relation)
Don't underestimate this humble vegetable. Its health benefits are some of the best among any root vegetables.
- Vitamin A/beta-carotene, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory - in orange and purple varieties; highest of any root vegetable
- Amylose, a slow-releasing starch for maintaining energy level
- B-complex vitamins, for converting food into fuel and giving us energy
- Minerals, especially iron, for blood health
- Vitamin C, for healthy tissues and immunity
Growing Season: At our farm, Sweet Potatoes are grown in the summer months from April to November. Once they are harvested, Sweet potatoes can be stored for up to 3 months. For that reason, Sweet Potatoes are available almost year round.
Varieties: Orange-fleshed varieties. Not only are these dependably sweet, nutty and creamy-fleshed, the orange colour = beta-carotene/vitamin A which is this vegetable's strongest (but not only) nutritional strength.
Storage: Blemishes on sweet potatoes are nothing to fret about - they can easily be cut off, but avoid roots and wrinkles, mould and soft patches or sprouts. The most important thing is that they are rock hard and heavy. Store without washing in a breathable box or bag (not plastic) in a dark, cool place, as you would with any potatoes.
Prep: It's not essential to peel sweet potatoes, plus the skin contains bonus nutrients. But they usually have a few nobbles, hairs or blemishes that need to be cut off, especially from the ends.