Sweet potatoes are one of the oldest known foods, cultivated by Native Americans for centuries. They were a major source of nutrition for early colonists – so very appropriate for Thanksgiving! — and later soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Often called yams from a similar African tuber, sweet potatoes are much more nutritious. They are an excellent source of calcium, vitamins A and C, potassium and manganese among other nutrients. They are low on the glycemic scale and are often recommended to diabetics for blood sugar control. There is an enzyme in sweet potatoes that converts the starches of the young plant into sugars as the potato matures. Sweetness increases during storage and cooking.
If using fresh sweet potatoes, choose ones that are firm, dark and blemish free, then store in a dry cool place, where they will keep up to a month. Wash well before cooking with the skins on. Many of the nutrients are near the skin so leaving it on during cooking helps preserve them. The skins are very easy to pull off when cooked – much easier than peeling raw. Sweet potatoes can be boiled, steamed, baked, roasted or microwaved. Or made into yummy, festive dishes like this one! I found those cute little ramekins at a tag sale. They hold about a half cup which is perfect for “have one of every dish” holiday dinners. (Secret portion control!) The sweet potatoes are made richer with cream and egg and are perfectly complemented with the pecan topping. A delectable, healthy treat even when it is not a holiday!
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