In Season: Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a power-packed root vegetable. They are an ancient American staple, and, I think, one of the world’s most under-appreciated crops. They came to my attention when Runner’s World, I think, featured them in their “Top 10 Foods for Runners.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest found sweet potatoes to have the highest nutritional value of any vegetable because of their high levels of iron, protein, vitamins C, A, and B6,calcium, and complex carbohydrates. Compared to other crops, they produce more food per acre with less labor and in poorer soil than most crops. Heirloom varieties are even tastier, and come in colors like purple and yellow.

**All About Sweet Potatoes**

When to Buy: Sweet potatoes are available year round. However, they are traditionally a winter vegetable because they store well, and can fill a wintertime vegetable void.

What to Buy: Heirloom sweet potatoes are sweeter and more colorful, but also harder to find and more expensive. Nancy Hall is a popular heirloom variety. The Okinawa Purple variety has purple flesh.

Prep & Storage: Sweet potatoes should be stored in a dark, cool place, ideally unrefrigerated.

How to Cook:
Sweet potato fries are my favorite option, but other cooking options include mashing and baking.

Recipe Box: check out some of our favorite ways to use sweet potatoes!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Mashed sweet potatoes are a true comfort food, and these can be made in the microwave!

Sweet Potato Chips
Try these for a heartier, healthier alternative to potato chips.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
For procrastination cooking, or a fancy meal; twice-baked sweet potatoes are a treat.

Sweet Potato with Parmesan and Herb Butter
Another delicious take on a baked sweet potato in the microwave.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries
These fries are easy to make, and definitely healthier than their deep-fried, white potato siblings. Try them at home!

Sarah Trautman is excited to return to Carleton College, snow or no snow, as a junior English major this winter. She is relearning everything her mother taught her about cooking. @sarah_trautman

Originally posted on Monday, January 9th, 2012

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