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It’s November, which means it’s sweet potato awareness month

Ahhhh! It’s November! My favorite month of the year! It’s my birthday month, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and my favorite vegetable of all time month – sweet potatoes or yams. (The United States Department of Agriculture requires that the label “yam” always be accompanied by “sweet potato” in U.S. retail sales of sweet potato).

Sweet potatoes can add color, sweetness and nutrients to meals, side dishes and snacks. There are a variety of ways to enjoy sweet potatoes, from baking or boiling to mashing and roasting. They are a great ingredient to use in fall and winter dishes. You can eat them as fries, grill them, use them as a salad topper, a sweet side dish, cube them for soups and stews, or enjoy them as chips. November is Sweet Potato Awareness Month. Check out the following tips and information on buying, storing, and adding sweet potatoes to a healthful eating plan.

Tips for Selection,

Storage and Preparation

• Nutrition and health. Sweet potatoes are fat free, low in sodium, cholesterol free, a good source of dietary fiber and potassium and high in vitamins A and C. Taste the sweet goodness that sweet potatoes naturally have, and keep the additions like butter to a minimum. A medium sweet potato (about 2 inches in diameter and 5 inches long) is around 100 calories when baked in the skin.

• Selection and storage tips. Choose firm, small- to medium-sized potatoes with smooth skin. Avoid cracks, soft spots and blemishes. Choose sweet potatoes with a bright, uniform color. Store them in a cool, dark, dry place for use within two to four weeks or at room temperature for up to a week. Avoid storing in the refrigerator, which will result in a hard center and unpleasant taste.

• Cleaning and preparing. Before cooking, wash sweet potatoes with cool, running water to remove any dirt from the skin and scrub with a vegetable brush if needed. It is not necessary to peel sweet potatoes before cooking them; leaving the skins on gives you a different texture and more fiber in meals, side dishes, and snacks.

• Cooking with sweet potatoes. They can be baked, boiled, fried, broiled, and microwaved. They can also be peeled, cut into chunks and sautéed. When cooking whole sweet potatoes pierce their skin several times with a fork and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (F) for 40-50 minutes, or until fork tender. Sauté sliced or diced sweet potatoes in oil for about 10 minutes. Grill or broil 1-inch thick slices for 10 minutes or cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and grill 20 to 25 minutes. When microwaving, pierce several times with a fork and place on a microwave-safe dish. Microwave whole sweet potatoes for 5 to 8 minutes, rotating halfway through. Umm yum!

• Great additions to meals and side dishes. Sweet potatoes can be prepared with sweet or savory flavors and go well with meats, fruits, and other vegetables. Here are some examples of interesting ways to incorporate sweet potatoes: Toss sliced sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower in olive oil and salt and bake until tender; sauté peppers, onions and sweet potato cubes for taco filling; add roasted sweet potato wedges to your favorite grilled meat; or add roasted sweet potato cubes to a soup recipe. Source: Lisa Franzen-Castle, RD
Sweet Potato Fries

Baked Sweet Potato Fries are a favorite side dish in my home.   They are easy to make, healthy, and packed with flavor.  The following are three recipe variations for making for Baked Sweet Potato Fries.

Ingredients

3 large sweet potatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoon chopped parsley

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cut the potatoes into wedges or strips. Place on a baking tray. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper. Toss everything together with your hands.

3. Place in the oven to cook for 25-30 minutes. Turn once with a spatula during cooking, and keep an eye on them for the last 10 minutes to ensure they don’t overcook.

4. Once cooked, sprinkle with a little chopped parsley and a sprinkling of salt and pepper before serving.

Once you have eaten Baked Sweet Potato Fries, they become addicting. You can serve them alone, with ketchup, or you can also make a delicious honey sriracha dipping sauce. To make the dipping sauce you’ll need 1 tablespoon of honey, 2 tablespoons sriracha and 6 tablespoons mayo.

For something a little different, you can also try sprinkling the Sweet Potatoes Fries with freshly grated parmesan cheese, just as they come out of the oven. Be sure to use a microplane grater on the parmesan cheese for the best result. You’ll want the parmesan cheese to be ultra-fine. These Baked Sweet Potato Fries will soon be a family favorite too. Recipe Source: CenterCutCook.