Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sweet Potatoes

I never ate sweet potatoes as a child. My mom called them "yams" and that had an ugly sound to me, so I didn't care that we never saw them on our table. Then, because I was still unfamiliar with them, I never served them to my own kids--as Ben recently reminded me. 

It's only been in the past several years that I have discovered this delicious tuber. Good thing, too, as it is one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat. Here is a quote from the Food Reference Website:

According to nutritionists at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the single most important dietary change for most people, including children, would be to replace fatty foods with foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes. 

CSPI ranked the sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegetables. With a score of 184, the sweet potato outscored the next highest vegetable by more than 100 points. Points were given for content of dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Points were deducted for fat content (especially saturated fat), sodium, cholesterol, added refined sugars and caffeine. The higher the score, the more nutritious the food.

The Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture tells us that sweet potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry place at between 55 and 60 degrees F.--never in the refrigerator. 

My recipe adds a bit of fat and sugar to this wonder vegetable, but it is so delicious...

Mom's Sweet Potatoes
Slice peeled sweet potatoes into a casserole sprayed with nonstick cooking spray
Dot with butter and sprinkle with brown sugar
Sprinkle a handful of pecan halves over the top

Bake, covered, at 350 for 45 minutes; uncover and continue baking another 15 minutes. 

Delicious with ham for Sunday supper.

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