Packed with an abundance of beta-carotene, vitamin C and fibre, nutrient-rich sweet potatoes readily available, easy-to-prepare, versatile and budget-friendly. They’re excellent as a side, snack, appetizer or main, and can also be made into dessert, including sweet potato pie or cupcakes (but that will be explored another time).
Most commonly found sweet potatoes have dark orange skin and vibrant orange flesh. When shopping, choose sweet potatoes that are firm, smooth and feel heavy for their size. There should be no discolouration, bruising, cracks or sprouting. Once home, store in a dark, cool and dry place (not in the refrigerator) for up to 10 days. While there is a myriad of ways to cook a sweet potato, let’s take a closer look at two most popular methods – baking whole or cut into fries.
French Fry It: Baked in the oven until crisp on the outside, tender inside, sweet potato fries are easy as can be and ready in hardly any time.
- Start with similar sized sweet potatoes (avoiding gnarly ones, if possible)
- Count on about 1 medium size potato per person
- Scrub skin and leave unpeeled, or rinse and peel
- Cut lengthwise into evenly sized sticks no larger than 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick
- Toss with just enough olive oil or vegetable oil to coat and season with salt and your favourite herbs or spices
- For extra crispy oven-baked fries, beat an egg white until frothy then toss with oil, seasonings and fries before baking
- When ready to bake, spread fries on large rimmed baking sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or foil – try not to let fries cluster on pan or they will steam rather than crisp up
- Bake in top and bottom thirds of a hot oven (around 425°F/220°C), switching and rotating pans halfway through cooking
- Herbs that pair well with sweet potatoes include thyme, rosemary, parsley, chives, oregano and sage
- Spices that partner perfectly with sweet potatoes include paprika, chili powder, coriander and curry, and also warm brown spices such as nutmeg, mace, ginger and cinnamon
While sweet potatoes are so tasty you really don’t need a dip, nevertheless, there are many combinations of flavours that serve to accentuate and enhance their natural sweetness. Delectable Dips that are perfectly suited for sweet potato fries include:
Did You Know?
- Sweet potatoes are a traditional holiday favourite served with baked ham
- You can make rich and delicious sweet potato hummus by puréeing baked sweet potato flesh with chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice – or simply stir into store-bought hummus
- You can turn any extra baked sweet potatoes into crispy sweet potato skins. Cut in half and scoop out flesh (reserve for something else…like sweet potato hummus!). Brush all over with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in single layer, flesh side up, on baking sheet; bake in 450°F (230°F) oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with shredded Cheddar cheese and bake 3 minutes longer. Serve with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt with chives or crumbled bacon.