BAKING SWEET POTATOES
Many people love mashed potatoes and chips, but may never consider making them with sweet potatoes as opposed to white ones. Sweet potatoes certainly rival their white potato counterparts when it comes to flavour and are one of a kind in their sweetness. With their popularity on the rise, it's time for them to shine in their own right.
The first step is to choose the best sweet potatoes you can. Look for potatoes that are small to medium in size with smooth skin that isn’t bruised.
Never store your sweet potatoes in the refrigerator as this will produce a hard center and an unpleasant taste. Store in a cool, dark place up to one week after purchase.
When you’re ready to cook them (and only when you’re going to cook them) wash the exterior of each sweet potato under cold running water, using a vegetable brush to remove any remaining dirt. Pierce the skin with a sharp knife or fork three to five times across the length of each potato.
There are different ways of baking sweet potatoes: you can opt for the oven, microwave or slow cooker. Leaving the peel intact prevents excessive loss of nutrients and retains the natural sweetness. The skins are perfectly edible and contain a good amount of nutrients. Once they’re cooked, place each sweet potato inside a clean kitchen towel. Roll the potato on the counter, pressing on it gently. Doing so loosens the flesh inside.
To bake, preheat the oven for at least 10 minutes to 230°C, 210°C fan, Gas Mark 8 and bake the sweet potatoes for 20 minutes on each side, rotating halfway through for even cooking.
If you're in a rush and need to use the microwave, score the potatoes with a knife before placing the sweet potatoes in a microwave-safe dish and cooking for 8-10 minutes at full power.
In the slow cooker, sweet potatoes can be left to cook for 7-9 hours on low.
For a variation on a traditional breakfast dish, why not use sweet potatoes as hash browns? You can also mash them, use them in a soufflé, or bake them and top with cheese, beans, tuna or sour cream.