We are eating more sweet potatoes every year. Since we have been led to believe that regular potatoes are not a healthy food (see yesterdays post or go read it on my blog). I explained how much of the nutrition of the regular potatoes is in the skin and that what makes it unhealthy is how we are preparing it, the oils we are using to prepare it, (don’t use omega-6 GMO oils, use Omega-3 oils) and how many pesticides are on it if it’s not organic.
All this holds true if it is a sweet potato as well. Sweet potatoes are a healthy food and a starchy vegetable.
. They are also loaded with many different phytonutrients which I break down with all their health benefits in my upcoming class.
“The orange and purple varieties are rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, chlorogenic acid and vitamin C. There’s an abundance of colors of sweet potatoes worldwide, including white, yellow, orange, and purple. In the American market, however, sweet potato typically has a deep-orange flesh color, a skin color of light to medium rose, copper or red, a sweet flavor and moist texture.”[i]
Buy one or two of each variety you can find, keeping in mind that the color of the skin isn’t always indicative of the color inside.
Unlike a potato (edible tubers of the nightshade family), the sweet “potato” is a large edible root within the morning glory family..
Each variety and color of a sweet potato offers different gifts for our body.
Most of the healing properties in sweet potatoes are found in the skin[ii]
For example, Live Strong says an unpeeled sweet potato contains around 475 milligrams potassium per 100 grams; peeled sweet potatoes only have about 230 milligrams per 100 grams, meaning that more than half the potassium is located in the skin. If you’re eating sweet potato for their nutritional value, tossing out the skins is one of the biggest mistakes you can make, as a peeled sweet potato simply lacks the nutritional value of an unpeeled one.[iii]
What other nutritional value is in the skin of the sweet potato?
· A bit of protein
· Carbs for energy
· Fiber to aid the digestive tract
Despite the fact that sweet potatoes are a starchy vegetable and have a medium glycemic index rating, they actually improve blood sugar regulation. They are high in fiber which also contributes to their blood sugar regulating properties. A large portion of that fiber comes from the skin of the sweet potato.
Sweet potato skins can be enjoyed by themselves or along with the flesh.
Here are some delicious and easy ways to enjoy them:
baked, boiled, or fried
deep-fried in a healthy omega-3 oil
mashed with the flesh
as fries or wedges
Eat the skin with the potato. The only reason to peel the sweet potato is if you are making a dessert recipe with it. Or, if you just want to enjoy the sweet potato skin itself.
You must wash your sweet potato well before cooking it whether you plan to eat the skin or not. Since it is a tuber and grows in the ground, wash and scrub it to remover any excess dirt, pesticides or debris.
To wash your sweet potato, place it under running water and scrub it with a vegetable brush. Since their skins are tough, you don’t need to worry about damaging it or the flesh.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SWEET POTATO SKINS
The sweet potato skin is rich in fiber, antioxidants and nutrients like potassium, manganese, Vitamin A, C, and E, so don’t waste it.
So what gifts does this bring to your health?
Sweet potato skins are an excellent source of beto-carotene, which is great for your skin, builds immunity, and improves your eyes and vision
They are high in vitamin B-6, which is great for your heart.
They are high in Vitamin C, which is great for your bones and teeth, your digestions, to build blood cells, to accelerate healing and to produce collagen, which is great for your skin.
They are a good source of Vitamin D, which is important for many functions in your body and also for healthy bones.
They contain iron, which builds immunity.
The fiber is important for blood sugar regulation. Its also great to help reduce cholesterol. The fiber encourages digestive efficiency and bowel regularity. Fiber-rich foods are also associated with weight loss, as high-fiber foods make you feel more satisfied for longer, meaning you feel more full after eating less.
They are a great source of potassium, which helps regulate heartbeat and nerve signals.
It is important that you choose your sweet potato carefully and choose sweet potatoes that do not have visible insect damage, blackened areas or mold. You don’t even want to just cut those areas away, pass on them., they just aren’t safe to eat.[iv] Avoid buying any sweet potatoes that appear to be bruised or have cuts and gouges that reveal some of the flesh.
“Bruises and cuts can expose the flesh to bacteria which will speed up the process of spoilage — chances are, if a sweet potato has any of these blemishes at the point of purchase, they’ve already begun to go bad and will be even more unsavory by the time you decide to cook them. It’s easy to tell if your sweet potato’s gone bad — you should be able to use your senses to tell if your sweet potato’s not so sweet anymore. If the softness is limited to one spot on the sweet potato, it may be tempting to just cut off this region of the potato and cook the rest, but you should really toss the whole thing, as this means the flavor of the entire potato will be altered and it may not even be safe to eat.”[v]
CAN YOU FREEZE THE SWEET POTATO SKINS?
On the rare occasion that you have leftovers, place the cooled sweet potatoes skins in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, heat in the oven for 25 minutes at 325 degrees F.
THERE ARE MANY RECIPES ON THE INTERNET FOR STUFFED SWEET POTATO SKINS.
1. The first thing you want to do is wash, pierce, and cook the sweet potatoes. Either bake in the oven at 375 degrees, or microwave the potatoes and then let them cool for about 5-10 minutes.
2. Scrape the sweet potato out of the skin, leaving a thin layer inside the skin. This allows the potato to stand up on its own, and hold the filling that you’ll make next.
3. Coat the skins with a drizzle of olive oil and pop them in the oven for 10-15 minutes. The skin will get nice and crispy.
4. Now you are ready to make whatever stuffing you have chosen to make.
They are also delicious just made crispy. Take your skin without the meat, from a cooled sweet potato. (Peel it carefully to get the largest pieces possible)
Heat your oven to 350F. Place your sweet potato skins on unbleached parchment paper. Brush with organic butter. (I use ghee since I am sensitive to the food solids in butter). Sprinkle with salt. I also use organic garlic and onion powder.
Bake them for approx. 10 minutes watching them so they don’t get too dark.
Let them cool and then dig in.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE SCOOPED OUT SWEET POTATO?
If you are wanting to ONLY use the sweet potato skin, you can store the scooped out sweet potato in an airtight container. I use glass storage containers that have silicone lids. It will keep fresh for up to 3 days.
JUST A NOTE FOR YOUR DOG
Potato skins can be difficult to digest, so it is recommended to remove any skin from a white or sweet potato before feeding it to your dog.
My upcoming class will help you save money on quality food and help you discover all the many long term benefits of buying organic. FOOD QUALITY MATTERS, HOW TO GET THE BIGGEST BANG FOR YOUR ORGANIC BUCK. I share dozens of tips to utilize the entire fruit or veggie, stop food waste and get the most nutrition from what you do purchase, how to choose it, how to store it- on your counter, on a shelf in your fridge, in the crisper drawer, how long it will last after being harvested. I share all the places you can save when you buy produce and what the advantages are of shopping local when possible. Coming soon….
Watch this space…..