This month, get back to your roots
with these super-tasty tubers.

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sweet potatoes
Photography by Sam Kaplan/Trunk Archive
| Credit: Photography by Sam Kaplan/Trunk Archive

Sweet Potato How-To Guide

How To Buy Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes come in a rainbow of colors (white, red, purple and, of course, orange) and various textures. Some varieties are sweet and moist when cooked; others are dry and starchy, more like a regular baking potato. Choose spuds that have firm, tapered ends (they'd start to soften there first) and are free of nicks and bruises, which can speed spoiling.

How To Store Sweet Potatoes: If possible, buy sweet potatoes the week you plan to use them. If you need to store them longer, stash them in a dark, dry, well-ventilated spot, like the pantry. Also, keep them indoors in late fall and winter.

How To Cook Sweet Potatoes: Pierce sweet potatoes all over with a fork, place them on a sheet of foil, then roast at 400° until a caramelly goo bubbles from the ends and the skins start to collapse, about 1 hour.

beauregard purple and japanese sweet potatoes
Credit: Photography by Getty Images and Shutterstock

Varieties

  • Beauregard (top): Moist and super-sweet, this  orange-fleshed type is a  common American variety.
  • Purple (middle):  This variety has a nutty flavor and vibrant flesh that keeps its color after cooking.   
  • Japanese (bottom):  Rusty-skinned with pale flesh, these mild spuds dry out fast, so try braising them.   
zesty sweet potato hummus
Zesty Sweet Potato Hummus
| Credit: Photography by Peter Ardito

Try These Recipe Ideas!

Zesty Sweet Potato Hummus

In food processor, pulse  the flesh from 2 cooked  sweet potatoes with  1/2 cup rinsed, canned  chickpeas, 1/4 cup tahini,  1 clove garlic, 1/2 tsp. lime  zest and 1/4 tsp. ground  coriander until smooth;  season. Transfer to bowl,  drizzle with EVOO and  sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. lime  zest. Serve with pita chips  and veggies for dipping.  Makes about 2 cups.

Sweet Potato Wedges with Za'atar

Cut 2 large sweet  potatoes into 1/2-inch  wedges. Toss on baking  sheet in olive oil and  za'atar; season and roast  at 425° until tender and  browned in spots, about  20 minutes. Serves 4.

Chocolate Sweet Potato Frosting

In food processor, pulse  the flesh from 1 hot  cooked large sweet  potato and 1 bag (12 oz.)  semisweet or bittersweet  chocolate chips until  smooth. Let cool. (The  frosting will firm as it  cools.) Makes 1 2/3 cups.

sweet potato illustration
Credit: Illustration by Gary Taxali

Fun Facts

Sweet potatoes + fat = magic

Orange sweet  potatoes are one  of the best natural  sources of beta carotene  (sorry, carrots). But your  body can't absorb  the orange pigment  and turn it into  immune-boosting,  eye-protecting  vitamin A without  a little fat. Bring  on the butter!

patty labelle sweet potato pie
Credit: Photography by Getty Images (portrait); Walmart (pie)

Diva-licious!

Patti LaBelle's sweet potato  pie went viral in 2015,  after one fan's video ode  caused a run on the pies  at Walmart. But the R&B  icon is a perfectionist. She  fine-tuned the recipe in her latest book, Desserts  LaBelle, by microwaving  the spuds and using  evaporated milk!