But, are they sweet potatoes or are they yams? What’s the difference? You may be surprised to learn that both are kin to flowers.
Yams, native to Africa and Asia, are closely related to lilies and grasses and have a starchier, drier flesh. Sweet potatoes are members of the morning glory family. Their skin color ranges from white to yellow, red, purple, and brown. The flesh also ranges in color from white to yellow, orange, and orange-red. The most familiar sweet potatoes have brownish or reddish skin with inside flesh that is yellow-orange to bright orange.
Not only are the tubers naturally sweet, they’re good for you. Sweet potatoes have made the lists of many well-known health diets, including one that I have used to combat inflammation. One medium sweet potato is only 150 calories, contains 15% of your daily fiber, and large amounts of Vitamin A, C, B-6, and potassium. They’re also high in antioxidants, good for your digestive tract, and fat-free.
Baking is the simplest way to prepare sweet potatoes. Scrub the potatoes and place them in a 450-degree oven for 30-45 minutes, until the middles are soft. Many people serve them with a pat of butter, and some like to use a little thyme or nutmeg for flavor. I prefer to use a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt, dash of pepper, and a tiny sprinkle of nutmeg.
You can also grate them and prepare as hash browns by sautéing in a little olive oil until crispy. Or grill sliced rounds brushed with oil until tender, about 5 minutes per side. The other day I used a vegetable peeler to turn a couple of sweet potatoes into long ribbon-like scrapings. I thought I could boil them as if they were long pasta. That plan didn’t pan out quite as I’d expected because the long ribbons broke into smaller pieces in the boiling and draining process. But the shorter sweet potato pieces tasted great when I added a mixture of olive oil, oranges juice and basil paste, and then seasoned them with salt and pepper.
Making the Scary Sweet Potatoes recipe in the Easy Weekly Meals for College Students cookbook is a quick, easy, and delicious way to add a splash of color to your meal. Give it a try and let us know what you think.