Cooking 101: Storing and Using Sweet Potatoes

We’re back with another installment of Your Week in Vegetables, in which we look at being smart about vegetables to increase the amount of veggies we eat while reducing waste. Each installment will focus on one vegetable and will cover what to look for when shopping, how to cut and store it, and a variety of recipes to use it in so that you really get your money’s worth. By planning your meals around the food that is most likely to go bad the quickest, you save yourself a lot of wasted food!

Sweet Potatoes

sweet potatoesSweet potatoes are a starchy food that help fill you up fast. They are full of nutrients such as vitamin B5 and B6. For recipes that involve mashing sweet potatoes, fresh potatoes can be substituted with canned potatoes or yams. Sweet potatoes can be bought individually, or more cheaply in bulk.

Shopping: Look for potatoes that are firm and don’t have soft spots or cuts.

Storing: Keep potatoes in a dry, dark place in a paper bag or basket.

Preparing: Potatoes can be cooked with or without skins. Wash potato thoroughly before use. To remove skin, using a peeler or a knife, remove outer skin from the potato and discard. Remove any eyes or other imperfections. If using canned potatoes, wash thoroughly before use to remove canning juices.


Layered sweet breakfast casserole:

Remove skins of 2 medium sized potatoes. Submerge potatoes in water and boil for 25 minutes or until tender. Remove from water and mash. Optional: Substitute for canned sweet potatoes and mash. Mix 1 tablespoon melted butter with potatoes and press potatoes in to a square baking dish, spreading evenly. In a bowl, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add ¼ cup oatmeal and ¼ cup brown sugar. Mix and spread over top of potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until sugar mixture is bubbling along the sides of the pan. Cover with aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator. Spoon on to microwave safe plate each morning and heat. Makes roughly 1 week’s worth of breakfasts.

Shopping list: 2 sweet potatoes, butter, oatmeal, brown sugar

Sweet potato Quesadilla

This makes a great lunch! Remove skin of 1 small-medium sweet potato and boil until tender. Mash. Mix in ¼ cup cheese. Options: Shred blocked cheese or cut 3-4 slices of deli cheese. Use sharp cheese such as Asiago, Cheddar, or Monterey Jack. Sprinkle cheese on 1 small tortilla, then spoon 3 tablespoons (or enough to cover tortilla) of sweet potato mixture on to tortilla and spread. Optional: Shred spinach on top of potato mixture. Sprinkle with more cheese, then place a second tortilla on top. Place in a dry frying pan over medium-low heat until cheese begins to melt. Flip and heat until all cheese is melted and tortillas are crispy.

Shopping list: Sweet potato, cheese, tortilla

Sweet potato fries

1 medium potato makes 2 servings of fries. Wash potato and leave skin intact. Use a wide chopping knife. Holding potato long-ways, cut potato in to ¼ – ½ inch slices. Lay slices flat and cut in to ¼ – ½ inch strips. Place potatoes strips in a bowl and toss in 2 tablespoons oil. Lay potatoes on baking sheet, making sure not to overlap fries. Cook at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and flip potatoes. Cook for another 10-15 minutes.

Shopping list: Sweet potatoes

Ham dinner with apple roasted sweet potato

Wash and peel 2 medium sweet potatoes and 1 apple. Holding potatoes short-ways, slice potatoes in to ¼ – ½ inch slices. Quarter apple and cut in to ½ inch wedges.  In a bowl toss slices in 2 tablespoons oil. Arrange potatoes and apples on a baking sheet and cook at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Spread ¼ cup apple sauce over tops and bake for 3 more minutes.

At the same time, in a frying pan cook 1 inch slice of ham over medium heat for 8 minutes or until heated through, flipping after 6 minutes. After flipping add 2 spoonful’s applesauce to pan. Serve ham and sweet potatoes together.

Shopping list: Sweet potatoes, apple, 1 ham slice (1 inch thick), applesauce

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Author My First Apartment
Melissa W

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After graduating from college Melissa spent a year working at a non-profit while living at home. This fall she is returning to school to pursue a master's degree, while still attempting to work full time. In order to pursue these goals simultaneously she's moving closer to work in an effort to cut down on the 3-4 hours spent crying through Chicago's rush hour each day.

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