Baked sweet potatoes are a wonderful side dish. They're incredibly high in Vitamin A and also contain a good amount of fiber. Even better, preparing sweet potatoes is simple as long as you start by choosing the right ones to cook.
Choosing the Perfect Sweet Potatoes
When shopping for sweet potatoes to be baked, look for spuds that are uniform in shape. Avoid spuds that have thin ends and a large middle. You'll also want to choose sweet potatoes that are all about the same size so that they all get done at the same time. Don't forget to look for blemishes. Blemishes can be cut out when making mashed potatoes, but they are noticeable when baked.
Prepping the Potatoes
First, thoroughly scrub the spuds to remove any dirt. If you were unable to find sweet potatoes that were uniform in shape, you will want to cut off the thin ends. Last, but not least, you will need to prick the sweet potatoes so that the steam has somewhere to go. Skipping this step could result in potato explosions.
How to Bake Sweet Potatoes
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Baked sweet potatoes will take 45 to 60 minutes depending on their size and the desired tenderness. Sweet potatoes are done when the skin begins to pull away from the flesh and the flesh is tender when pierced or squeezed. When checking for doneness, be sure to use an oven-safe glove so that you don't burn yourself.
To serve baked sweet potatoes immediately, carefully cut the spuds open, and top with brown sugar and butter. If you'd like something a bit different, you can turn your baked sweet potatoes into twice-baked sweet potatoes. Scrape the flesh from the skin, mash the spuds with your favorite ingredients, place the mixture back into the skins and bake at 350 degrees until the twice-baked sweet potatoes are heated through. If you want to save your baked sweet potatoes for later, allow them to cool, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to three days.
Using the Leftovers
Leftover baked sweet potatoes can be used to create several different recipes. You can add these baked spuds to cranberry muffin batter to create a flavor that is packed with fiber. Baked sweet potatoes also make the perfect addition to waffles. Add toasted pecans to the top of the waffle for a true breakfast treat. Of course, leftover baked sweet potatoes can also be turned into classic recipes, such as pie and casserole.
Other Tips and Suggestions
Baked sweet potato recipes are just as easy as those for regular potatoes. The only difference is that baked sweet potatoes will leak sugary syrup and need to be placed on a cookie sheet. If you need to cut the ends off your sweet potatoes, you may also want to wrap them in aluminum foil to make cleanup even easier. It's important to remember that baked sweet potatoes will be mushy if overcooked. Once the spuds have baked for 45 minutes, begin to check them for doneness. If they will be twice baked, you may want to pull them a bit early.
Although sweet potatoes are most popular around the holidays, several recipes for sweet potatoes can be enjoyed all year long. Not only do sweet potatoes give you an alternative to russet potatoes, but they are also incredibly healthy. In fact, they're much healthier than white varieties.
Honor the long-standing history of the spud with this garlic mashed potatoes recipe. This recipe calls for the use of milk or cream, but you can add in sour cream for an even richer, tangier side dish.