As we feel the gentle wisps of cool air breezing, we crave something warm and fulfilling. What better than relishing in the soothing warmth and deliciousness of sweet potatoes?
If you love sweet potatoes and want to know how to make baked sweet potatoes the right way, then this is the article for you!
Some Interesting Facts About Sweet Potato
- Sweet potato is a large, starchy vegetable and is orange inside. The ones which are darker in color (reddish) are referred to as yams. Although closely related, yams and sweet potatoes belong to different families.
- Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest and cheapest sources of nutrition. In fact, the predominant protein in sweet potatoes is known to have cancer-fighting properties.
- Sweet potato is considered a superfood since it is enriched with fiber, vitamin B, and vitamin C.
How to Select the Best Sweet Potato?
Look for small to medium-sized firm sweet potatoes with smooth, even skin and no bruises or cracks. The larger ones tend to be starchier so choose accordingly. The deeper the color of the sweet potato (generally red or orange), the sweeter and richer it is.
Boil, Steam, Or Bake Sweet Potatoes?
Boiling sweet potatoes retains most of the antioxidant properties compared to roasting, baking, and steaming. Boiling them also helps thin out the cell walls and gelatinize the starch, enhancing the nutrients. The glycemic index of boiled sweet potatoes is quite less, that’s why boiled sweet potatoes give us less of a blood sugar spike.
If you opt for a healthier approach, steaming the sweet potatoes is the de-facto approach. While steaming, most (if not all) of the nutrients stay inside. This is not the case for boiling, as the nutrients are lost in the water when boiled.
Baking the sweet potatoes in the oven or microwave caramelizes the potatoes’ starchy flesh. Thus it makes them sweeter and gives them a silky smooth texture. It also retains the crisp skin of the baked potatoes. Roasting is also preferred as the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes is retained.
All the 3 methods have their own unique perks. Considering all this, choosing the method according to your need is best.
Oven-Baked Sweet Potato
Here is a sweet and simple oven-baked sweet potato recipe if you’re looking to save time or need a quick fill. Although quite simple, it’s a great recipe and a huge hit among many. Use it for your next meal!
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Baked sweet potatoes (quantity depends on you)
Butter – 4tbsp
Kosher salt (can also be substituted with sea salt or table salt)
4 Simple Steps to Make Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes:
1. Scrub the Sweet Potatoes Till They Are Squeaky Clean
Wash and thoroughly dry sweet potatoes. Make sure to cleanse the potatoes properly to get rid of dirt. Sweet Potato skin has more nutrients than the interior, so whether to peel off the skin or not is completely up to you.
2. Pre-Baking Pre-Requisites
Preheat the oven to 1400 C. While the oven is heating, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. The purpose of foil is to prevent the juices of sweet potato from caramelizing, as this can be a hassle to clean up. Next, you will need to prick sweet potatoes (essentially poke holes in them using a fork) to allow the steam to vent out. It is considered good practice to prick your spud. If you’re opting to eat your potatoes with the skin on, rub the sweet potatoes with olive oil after pricking. This ensures crispy skin while baking.
3. Time to Bake Sweet Potatoes in The Oven
Now place the sweet potatoes in the oven and let them bake till they acquire a tender texture (generally for 45-50 minutes). You can test this by inserting a fork into the core of the potato. If it meets no resistance (i.e. it is soft inside), then it means that your sweet potatoes have been perfectly and fully cooked. Let the potatoes sit for a while to cool them.
4. Final Serving
With a sharp knife, you can cut the sweet potatoes into half lengthwise each, or roughly the same size. Gently squeeze the two sides to separate them properly. You can top it with little butter or sprinkles of kosher salt and pepper for a savory sweet potato. Shredded cheese is also a good option for garnish.
And voila! Your perfectly baked sweet potato is ready.
Microwave-Baked Sweet Potato
Another method of baking sweet potatoes is to microwave them. This procedure is quite similar to baking a sweet potato in the oven. Even in this case, it’s a good practice to poke holes into your spud.
The only difference is the variance in their cooking times. It needs only 5 minutes to cook in the microwave. If 5 minutes is inadequate, increment in terms of 30 seconds till you get the perfect result. It is a great option if time is a constraint. Here, use a microwave-safe plate and flip the potatoes halfway through the cooking.
Toppings For Baked Sweet Potatoes
Besides topping the potatoes with the basic salt and pepper, here are some of the other savory toppings you can consider:
Sweet and Succulent:
- Brown sugar
- Maple syrup
Rich and Creamy:
- Sour cream/ Yoghurt
Saucy and Zesty:
- All kinds of Sauce
Make your palate happy with your favorite toppings.
Baked Sweet Potatoes as A Side Dish
Baked sweet potatoes can be as volatile as needed. They make a great side dish with absolutely anything and everything. If you’re having something spicy as the main course, the potatoes add a sweet and creamy twist to it. The possibilities are astonishingly endless!
If you’re thinking of having baked potatoes as a side dish, then here are some of the options for you:
1. Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Cut the potatoes into small cubes of size roughly 2 inches. As an alternative, you can use sweet potato halves for roasting. Roast at a high temperature and allow the heat to distribute evenly, circulating perfectly around each piece. For seasoning, you can use garlic, olive oil/coconut oil, melted butter, clarified butter, salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic or onion powder. Go as far and wide as you want with the seasoning!
2. Mashed Sweet Potatoes
You can either roast the sweet potatoes and then mash them or boil the sweet potatoes and then mash them. It’s quite a simple recipe. You can use an electric mixer to blend the sweet potatoes while adding butter and milk as required. Finally, top it with maple syrup, brown sugar, and cinnamon and spice it up with some cheddar cheese, sour cream, and cilantro.
3. Sweet Potato Pudding
Add sweet potatoes and eggs to a bowl. Beat in brown sugar, milk, butter, lemon juice, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and salt. Pour into dish and bake in preheated oven until a golden brown layer is observed on top.
4. Sweet Potato Salad
You can either bake the sweet potatoes or roast them. Spruce it up with garlic, diced onion, salt, pepper, red bell pepper, black beans, cooked corn, cilantro, sour cream, butter, and some other vegetables. These sweet potato salads make for a great side dish cuisine and the main dish.
5. Sweet Potato Fries
Here you can bake the sweet potatoes or roast them to make the delicious sweet potato fries. Roast sweet potato halves to get crispy fries. You can also use an air fryer since it uses extremely little oil compared to deep frying. Season it with olive oil/coconut oil, along with garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.
It doesn’t end here, the list goes on and on! Depending on your mood, whip up new recipes.
Check out the video for some more delicious sweet potato recipes!
Storage Of Sweet Potatoes
1. For Storing Raw Sweet Potato
Avoid rinsing sweet potatoes first since it could lead to rotting. This is due to the extra moisture that is being introduced while rinsing. Instead, use a dry cloth to remove any dirt. Storing them in the refrigerator produces a hard center and an unpleasant taste. Hence it’s better to store them in a cool, dry, well-ventilated container. Keep away from strong heat sources.
Lasts for: Up to two weeks if stored properly.
2. For Storing Baked Sweet Potato
If your sweet potatoes are already cooked, then storage is very simple. Put your cooked sweet potatoes in a shallow container and place them in the refrigerator for short-term use.
Lasts for: 3 to 5 days. Store the sweet potatoes in an airtight container to make them last longer.
Guests coming over? Then opt for baked sweet potatoes. Whether fulfilling your own stomach or a bulk audience, baked sweet potatoes are the way to go. You can experiment with the sweet potatoes as much as you want, and the results will always be stellar!
Try to replace regular potatoes with sweet potatoes in your everyday meals, and let us know the results in the comments!
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