Sometimes called the kumara, sweet potatoes are an orange, knobbly looking vegetable that can be used in many of the same ways as ordinary potato varieties. Although the leaves and shoots of the sweet potato are edible, it is the starchy roots that are by far the most important product. Peeled sweet potatoes can be roasted, boiled, steamed, microwaved or fried. Here are some tips on using sweet potatoes in cooking:
- Sweet potatoes generally do not store well except under ideal conditions. Keep them in a dry, dark and cool place, and they can last up to three to four weeks. Use them within one week of purchase and do not refrigerate.
- Avoid bruised sweet potatoes as they rapidly deteriorate.
- Sweet potatoes are highly digestible, rich in vitamin C and are just as useful as ordinary potatoes.
- For a twist on regular mashed potato, use sweet potato instead. It has a distinctive sweet flavour and will complement virtually any dish that ordinary potato will.
- Sweet potato leaves are a common side dish in Taiwanese cuisine, where they are boiled with garlic and vegetable oil and dashing with salt. You can purchase the leaves from specialty Asian grocers.
- Cube sweet potato and add to Indian or Asian curries, stews and soups for a starchy thickener with a hint of a sweet flavour.