Lisa

Contributor

The best way to shop? With the seasons. So, every 2 weeks at Kitchen Stories, we'll be highlighting a different in-season ingredient along with 3 new recipes. To the market, we go!

While ordinary potatoes are a basic foodstuff in many countries around the world, the sweet potato has only risen to prominence over the last few years. Sweet potato is one of the oldest vegetables: Peruvian cave paintings show that sweet potato has been on the menu in Central and South America for 10,000 years.

Lately, we’ve seen these orange-coloured potatoes cropping up in discount supermarkets for budget prices and appearing on the menus of popular burger bars as a sweeter alternative to ordinary chips.

1. Hello, my name is sweet potato

Sweet potato tastes a bit like cooked carrot or pumpkin. But let’s get one of the biggest misconceptions out of the way: while sweet potatoes look a lot like ordinary potatoes in terms of their shape and can be cooked in the same way, in botanical terms the sweet potato is not even distantly related to the nightshade family. Sweet potato belongs to the bindweed family. Sweet potato is slightly lower in carbohydrates than the regular potato and also contains more fibre, a lot of potassium, beta carotene and vitamin E. Despite its relatively high sugar and starch content, it raises your blood sugar level slowly with now highs and lows.

2. When to buy sweet potato

Sweet potatoes love warm temperatures and can be harvested all year round, so they are most commonly grown in Central and South America.

This means you can essentially buy sweet potatoes throughout the year, but if you go to a farmers’ market in autumn, you might be able to get your hands on some regional sweet potatoes.

3. How to store sweet potatoes

When buying sweet potatoes, make sure that the potato feels firm and doesn’t have any damp patches. Sweet potatoes should be stored in the dark so they don’t sprout. A larder or a cool, dry basement is ideal. Sweet potato can only be frozen once it’s been cooked. For example, you can keep cooked sweet potato cubes or mash in a freezer bag in the freezer for about a year.

4. How to prepare sweet potatoes properly

Americans love it as a side dish to the Thanksgiving turkey, and these slightly elongated potatoes are a basic foodstuff in many tropical and subtropical countries. They have also experienced a major rise in popularity in Europe over the past few years. And it’s no wonder: after all, this delicious potato can be eaten in many different ways. It can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes, from healthy curries to crispy fries and wedges or chocolate brownies – in terms of diversity, the sweet potato is unrivalled. In some countries, the leaves of the sweet potatoes are also eaten, although the green part of the potato is inedible. The leaves can be eaten raw, although the potato itself is only edible when cooked.

Preparing a sweet potato doesn’t have to be complicated. The cooking time is much lower compared to potatoes of the same size, but the sweet tuber loses its taste while cooking and should rather be baked. With or without the skin, baked, roasted, fried or boiled, as a side dish or the main event – sweet potatoes are endlessly versatile. They are often made into soups, mashes or gratins. Sweet potato fries and chips with tasty dips are now a popular trend in worldwide.

5. What to cook with sweet potatoes

We'll be releasing new sweet potato recipes all week, so keep checking back! Here’s where to start:

Sweet potato meringue pie

→ Go to recipe

Sweet potato, spinach, and feta frittata

→ Go to recipe

Sweet potato fritters with guacamole and poached egg

→ Go to recipe

How do you like to prepare sweet potatoes? Tell us in the comments and upload a photo of your creations.

More delicious ideas for you