Sweet potatoes are a great choice for the health conscious consumer. They are a Native American plant and were a main source of nourishment for homesteaders and for soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
The Louisiana yam is an exceptional type of sweet potato. It is generally sweet and flavorful with a soft, moist flesh. The deep, orange color of the potato indicates it is rich in carotene, which turns into vitamin A inside the body. One medium baked sweet potato provides about twice the recommended daily amount of vitamin A. In addition, sweet potatoes, which are a complex-carbohydrate, are a good source of dietary fiber, potassium and vitamin C when baked in the skin. To bake whole, pierce skin with fork. Place potatoes in a pan and cook in an oven heated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes or until tender. Cool potatoes slightly before removing skins. Sweet potatoes can be cooked in a microwave oven to save time. Wash and pierce potatoes, then place them on a paper towel. The cooking time for two medium potatoes is on high for five to nine minutes, and four potatoes, 10-13 minutes.
When selecting Louisiana yams, choose smooth, plump, bright, dry and clean potatoes. Do not refrigerate, but store in a cool place (60 degrees Fahrenheit) where air can circulate freely.
I would like to share some facts and tips regarding sweet potatoes provided by the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission:
Always use a stainless steel knife when cutting a sweet potato. Using a carbon blade will cause the yam to darken.
One cup of canned sweet potatoes equals one medium-sized, cooked fresh sweet potato.
When using canned yams, add them at the end of the recipe because they are already pre-cooked.
Grill sweet potatoes on an open or closed grill over medium-hot coals until vegetables begin browning and are tender when pierced with a skewer, about 15-20 minutes.
Below you will find a recipe for Sweet Potato Bread. Enjoy!
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup fresh sweet potatoes cooked and mashed or 1 15 oz. can yams drained and mashed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour. In large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, yams, and vanilla. In separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, allspice, and baking soda. Fold yam mixture into flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 16 slices.
For further information, you may contact Adrianne Vidrine at the LSU AgCenter at (337) 788-8821 or you can also visit our website at http://www.lsuagcenter.com.