January 25, 2010
I was roasting sweet potato rounds in the oven recently when my grandson walked in sniffing the air. When I turned on the oven light and let him look through the oven window to see what was there, he exclaimed, “cookies!” Well, sort of…he certainly ate them like they were. I chose the round shape rather than logs purposefully.
So, today when he came over, Mason helped me prepare some to roast. I did the peeling, since the sweet potatoes had sort of sad looking skins from having been forgotten in the potato bin. If the skins look good, i.e. smooth and paper-like on organic sweet potatoes, the skins don’t need to come off and will peel off easily after roasting if necessary. I did the slicing into about ¼-inch thick rounds. He tossed them in the bowl as I sprinkled on about two tablespoons of olive oil and a scant teaspoon of salt over the 3 pounds of the prepared sweet potatoes. Then he spread them out on the dry pans ready for the oven. There was a lot of finger licking going on after the rounds were spread out in one layer on the pans. The roasting and caramelizing takes about 20 minutes in a preheated 400ºF oven. The caramelization of the natural sugars in the sweet potatoes makes them sweet like cookies indeed.
When they came out of the oven and cooled a few minutes, once again he ate them like cookies and asked for a bag to take home with him for later.
Part of the morning glory family, sweet potatoes are both economical (easy on the budget) and a nutritional powerhouse. They are rich in dietary fiber as well as vitamins B6, A, and C, the last two being powerful antioxidants that work to eliminate free radicals that can damage cells in the body; a good food for any age. A medium sized roasted sweet potato of 100 grams or a ½ cup serving contains about 90 calories, 2 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and a glycemic load of 9.
If you are not growing them, choose sweet potatoes with firm, smooth skins and no bruises, cracks, or soft spots. If stored in a cool (about 55ºF), dark, well-ventilated space, (not the refrigerator) they can last for months. Storage in the refrigerator can result in a hard core forming in the center. Cut with a stainless steel knife to avoid discoloration. They can be roasted without the oil and salt, if this is an issue, and will still caramelize and be delicious. Back in the day of trying live off the land, we would take the very small sweet potato fingers from a harvest of all different sizes and roast them with the skins on with nothing added until they caramelized for a healthful sweet treat beyond compare. Bet you can’t eat just one….
Filed under: Vegetables