Last night we made mashed sweet potatoes for dinner. This is a great dish to let the kids help prepare, my girls love to peel the potatoes. Once the potatoes are boiled, they are easy to mash with a fork or potato masher and my kids have so much fun doing this. They are always more willing to try new or healthy foods if they help to prepare them.
The wonderful thing about sweet potatoes is they are sweet and delicious in their natural form. Not much needs to be done or added to them to make them a delicious accompaniment to your dinner. When they are cooked, an enzyme in the sweet potato breaks down the tuber’s starch and turns it into maltose, creating an appealingly sweet flavor.
Sweet potatoes are packed with the antioxidant beta-carotene, which the body converts to retinol, or vitamin A. As a result, sweet potatoes may be good for vision, help to prevent some kinds of cancer, and boost immunity. Low in calories and high in fiber, sweet poatoes are great for weight loss or maintenance. They also deliver folate, and vitamins B6, C, and E. Information provided by Power Foods.
When buying your sweet potatoes, look for small or medium-size ones that feel firm and heavy, with smooth, unblemished skin and no sprouts. In ideal conditions (perfectly dry, about 50 degrees, and dark) sweet potatoes will keep up to four weeks. Do not refrigerate sweet potatoes; at temperatures below 50 degrees they can develop a condition called hardcore, and their centers will stay solid even after cooking. Information provided by Power Foods.
When reading about sweet potatoes, I was surprised to learn that they are root vegetables and not considered potatoes or yams. Many people use the terms sweet potatoes and yams interchangeably, and in stores sweet potatoes are often labeled as yams. Yams are drier and starchier than sweet potatoes, with thick, scaly skin and very low levels of beta-carotene.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
1. Peel and cube potatoes.
2. Add potatoes to a large pot of salted water and cook until tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
7. Sprinkle with cinnamon (optional).
~ “When you have the best and tastiest ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary because it tastes like what it is.” – Alice Waters