FEBRUARY IS NATIONAL SWEET POTATO MONTH!
By Ann Flood, Co-Founder/Managing Editor, Edible Chicago
Sweet Potatoes are considered one of the more popular family-friendly choices of the winter season’s root vegetables because of its sweet and savory flavor profile. Not related to regular potatoes, sweet potatoes are actually tuberous roots and are members of the morning glory family. The orange color is from beta-carotene, which is good for vision health and boosting immune function. It’s also loaded with vitamins, proteins and minerals. In addition to Vitamin A and C, sweet potatoes also contain anti-inflammatory properties that help with arthritis, asthma and allergies; and fiber, which aids digestion and are naturally gluten-free. They are also an excellent food for a diabetic diets because they are a complex carbohydrate and contain no processed sugars, which in turn helps control glucose levels. This hearty root vegetable stores easily during the long winter months, making it easy to keep a supply on hand, ready for a meal. Plus, there are many ways to cook a sweet potato: baked, steamed, candied, fried, grilled, twice-baked, smashed, sautéed, or pan-roasted—all reasons why this versatile food is one of my favorite eats during the cooler weather season.
HOW TO BUY:
Look for sweet potatoes that are very firm, no soft spots, sprouts or blemishes. Choose a size that is best for your recipe—small for frying, medium for baking, and on the larger side for boiling or cubing. I prefer buying organic vs. conventional whenever possible, so that I know they are free from potential pesticide and fertilizer residues.
You can store sweet potatoes for up to three weeks in a loosely covered bag or an open cardboard box to allow for air circulation in a cool, dark area like your pantry or basement. Avoid refrigeration.
EASY OVEN BAKED SWEET POTATO WEDGES
One Large Sweet Potato
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
Fresh Black Pepper
Peel one large potato and cut lengthwise into 8 wedges. Parboil the wedges by placing them into a pot of water at a low boil for 8 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper toweling. Place the potatoes in a large bowl with just enough olive oil to coat the wedges and add seasoning to taste. Lightly toss; making sure that the seasoning is evenly distributed over all the wedges. Lay the sweet potato wedges on a parchment lined baking sheet and place in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes or until nicely browned on the outside and tender on the inside.
Serves two to four people as a side dish.
MORE READING AND RECIPES:
Check out the Midwinter issue of Edible Chicago for an engaging article we call “Sweet Potatoes, The Dry & The Moist” written by chef, author and leading vegetarian expert Deborah Madison from her new book, Vegetable Literacy. You’ll also find a reference to the many the sweet potato varieties and two original recipes. The print issue is out on the streets now, and the digital version is available at ediblechicago.com.
Exclusive special this week to Market Square Musings fans!
Sign up for a year’s subscription for $28.00 and get the Sweet Potato issue for FREE! Go to ediblechicago.com and select the Subscription tab. Enter MSM in the gift area and your copy will be sent out first class mail right away! Free issue offer good until March 1, 2013. A one year subscription is four issues per season.
Sweet Potato Photos: © shutterstock.com
Cover: © Edible Chicago
Thank you, Ann, for contributing to Market Square Musings and for providing our viewers with your special offer! Please visit Edible Chicago at http://ediblechicago.com/ and make sure to sign up for your year’s subscription today!