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Fabulous Fall Foods: Sweet Potatoes

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1 Fabulous Fall Foods: Sweet Potatoes on 5th November 2009, 8:33 pm

Sweet potatoes have recently become the rising star in the world of superfoods. From baked to mashed, you can enjoy this starchy vegetable starting on Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet. It’s rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C, both powerful antioxidants that work to prevent and possibly reverse the cell damage caused by free radicals. Sweet potatoes are at their peak abundance from September through December, but you can find them at your local supermarket year-round. Here are a few tips for buying, storing, and enjoying sweet potatoes.

Buying Sweet Potatoes: Look for firm potatoes that do not have any cracks, bruises, or soft spots. Sweet potatoes typically taper at one end and are characterized by their dry, yellow flesh. They are originally from the West Indies but are now grown in many parts of the United States. Since sweet potatoes can vary in size, choose small ones (four to five ounces) when first reintroducing them to your diet.

Storing Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes should be kept in a cool, dark, and dry place, like the pantry. Refrigeration is not a good idea, as the cold temperature can negatively alter their taste. They should be used within two weeks of purchase.

Enjoying Sweet Potatoes: Before preparing, make sure to scrub them thoroughly with a stiff brush. Since sweet potatoes grow under the ground, they can collect a lot of dirt. To cook, you can either boil and mash them as you would regular potatoes, or you can roast or bake them in the oven. If you choose to bake them whole, make sure you pierce the skin several times with a fork to prevent an explosion. Sweet potato “fries” are also a delicious way to prepare them, as long as they are baked (not fried).

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