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Sweet Potato Tips

While Sweet potatoes are a Southern US favorite, particularly for the Thanksgiving holiday, Sweet potatoes are always an inviting side to almost any dish! Make oven-baked sweet potato wedges, steamed, boiled, sauteed, whipped, candied or as a simple baked potato substitute, they always surprise and delight.

Selecting - Select tubers with tight, unwrinkled skins with no blemishes or bruises. Prime season is from October to January but they are available sporadically throughout the year.

Storage - Fresh Sweet Potatoes (sometimes called Yams) store well for 3 to 4 weeks and just like white potatoes, should never be refrigerated. To freeze, pack cooked sweet potatoes in an airtight container, leaving 1/2-inch headroom and freeze for up to 10 to 12 months at 0 degrees F.

Use - When a recipe calls for canned yams you can use fresh by baking or boiling the yam until tender. One medium size sweet potato is about the same as 1-15oz can.

Sweet potatoes are often mistakenly called yams, and indeed the terms are use interchangeably in culinary circles but they are two distinctly different vegetables. Sweet potatoes are the tuber (root) of a vine in the morning glory family and native to the western hemisphere tropics. Its history dates back to 750 B.C. in Peruvian records and Columbus brought the sweet potato to the New World from the island of Saint Thomas.

The yellow or orange tubers are elongated with ends that taper to a point and are of two dominant types:
The paler-skinned sweet potato has a thin, light yellow skin with pale yellow flesh which is not as sweet and has a dry, crumbly texture similar to a white baking potato.
The darker-skinned one (most often called yam in error) has a thicker, dark orange skin with vivid orange, sweet flesh and moist texture. Varieties include Goldrush, Georgia Red, Centennial, Puerto Rico, New Jersey, and Velvet.

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