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 (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.
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 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!
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!
More recipes to try:
- Sweet Potato Hash
- Sweet-Potato Chicken Quesadillas
- Turkey Sweet-Potato Shepherd's Pie
- Glazed Pork Loin with Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas
- Roast Mushrooms and Kale over Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Smoky-Spicy Sweet Potato Soup
- Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri and Sweet Potato Wedges
— By Mary-Frances Heck, author of Sweet Potatoes: Roasted, Loaded, Fried, and Made into Pie