Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sweet Potatoes!

I decided to start a new category called “Fruit or Veggie of the Week.” The reason for this is to get everyone educated about all the fruits and vegetables available to consumers, inspire you to try something new, and perhaps find a new favorite recipe. I highly recommend stopping by Gentiles Farmer’s Market in Newtown Square, PA to see the wide variety of unique and interesting produce. Everytime I go there I try to find something I’ve never had before and then research ways to eat it.

For my first post, I have to focus on my all-time favorite food: Sweet Potatoes. I don’t just like these root crops because they are nutritional powerhouses, but I have liked them since I was a kid for their sweet and delicious flavor.

ABOUT: Sweet potatoes come in all sorts of colors and varieties (over 400!) from purple, beige, to the most common orange and brown fleshed. They are loaded with antioxidants (beta-carotene), phytonutrients, anti-inflammatory agents, and are excellent for blood-glucose control in diabetics.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SWEET POTATO AND A YAM? Sweet potatoes are often incorrectly labeled “yams.” Yams are very starchy, dry, and not very sweet root crops native to Africa and can grow to enormous sizes… not commonly sold in the US. Most likely you’ve eaten sweet potatoes and not yams.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE: 1 small potato, baked w/ skin (77 g):  95 calories, 0 g fat, 22 g carb, 3 g fiber (1 g soluble, 1.5 g insoluble), 2 g protein, 262% (DV) Vit A, 4% Thiamin, 5% Riboflavin, 12.5% B6, 28% Vitamin C, 4% Folate, 13% Copper, 26% Manganese, 9% potassium

KELLY’S FAVORITE COOKING METHOD: Wash and scrub sweet potato, prick a few times with knife or fork. Wrap in tin foil, and put on baking sheet (potato will leak syrup). Bake in a 350-400 degree (I usually just throw in whenever I am baking something else, to be more energy efficient), and bake for 1 1/4- 2 hours until super soft and syrupy. These will be so sweet when baked you don’t need to add any sugar or anything. You can add cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice… and pecans if you like. Make sure you have some fat (>5 grams- preferably mono-unsaturated) with your meal for optimal absorption of vitamins!

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