Sweet Potatoes

Did you know that SWEET POTATO (kamote) far exceeds the nutrition and health values of rice? Here are the benefits of substituting rice with kamote:

  1. Sweet potato is more filling and suppresses hunger pangs longer. It is also cheaper than rice.
  2. Unlike rice, it is  easy to grow. It grows in backyards with or without fertilizers. Local government executives can provide their poor communities with idle government land for planting kamote which the entire community can share.
  3. Unlike rice which needs to be eaten with a dish, Sweet Potato tastes good and can be eaten by itself. Thus, substituting rice with sweet potato saves money for other needs.
  4. Rice cannot match the nutritional values of potato. Because rice converts to sugar in the body, the Philippines registers as a top producer of diabetics in the world.The poor tend to load up on rice and less on the dishes which are more expensive. That makes them vulnerable to diabetes, an ailment known in developed countries as a rich man’s disease.
  5. The nutritional values of a 3 oz. baked sweet potato are: calories 90, fat 0 g, saturated fat 0 g, cholesterol 0 mg, carbohydrate 21 g, protein 2 g, dietary fiber 3 g, sodium 36 mg, vitamin A 19,218 IU, folic acid 6 micrograms, pantothenic acid 1 mg, vitamin B6 <1 mg, vitamin C 20 mg, vitamin E 1 mg, calcium 38 mg, manganese 1 mg, carotenoids 11,552 mcg, potassium 475 mg and magnesium 45 mg. Compare that to a 100 g serving of white rice with: calories 361 kcal, water 10.2 g, total fat 0.8 g, dietary fiber 0.6 g, calcium 8 mg, phosphorous 87 mg, potassium 111 mg, sodium 31 mg, vitamin B1 0.07 mg, vitamin B2 0.02 mg, niacin 1.8 g, protein 6 g and carbohydrates 82 g.
  6. Too much rice consumption can make you sick, but sweet potato(kamote) can bring you to health and keep away some health problems. These have been proved medically.

In a medical documentary I watched recently on KBS World (the South Korean TV Network), I was awed by the results of the research the Koreans conducted on the nutritional and medicinal benefits of kamote (which they refer to as sweet potato).

In that Korean medical documentary I watched (which I followed through the English subtitles), they presented the research findings on people with established health problems who were placed on a kamote/sweet potato diet.

Believe it or not – Sweet Potato (kamote) lowers hypertension, bad cholesterol and even blood sugar when eaten as a SUBSTITUTE TO RICE! The purple sweet potato (kamote) is particularly effective for lowering hypertension.

Not only that, the Korean medical documentary credits the sweet potato (kamote) as high fiber and is one of the best foods that one can eat to prevent cancer!

For those who are only impressed by US doctors, read this: the North Carolina Stroke Association, American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association have all endorsed the sweet potato for its disease prevention and healing qualities.

The Americans, the South Koreans – both progressive nations – have raised the kamote to a high pedestal. Many of them even call the sweet Potato a “super food that heals.”

Additional information:

The versatile sweet potato is ideal fare for the health-conscious food consumer. With the ever-growing interest in health and natural foods, the sweet potato is quickly finding its place in the family weekly diet the year around. The sweet potato blends with herbs, spices and flavorings producing delicious dishes of all types. From processed baby foods to the main dishes, casseroles, salads, breads and desserts, sweet potatoes add valuable, appetizing nutrients and color to any meal.

As a main dish or prepared as a dessert, the sweet potato is a nutritious and economical food. One baked sweet potato (3 1/2 ounce serving) provides over 8,800 IU of vitamin A or about twice the recommended daily allowance, yet it contains only 141 calories making it valuable for the weight watcher. This nutritious vegetable provides 42 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C, 6 percent of the RDA for calcium, 10 percent of the RDA for iron, and 8 percent of the RDA for thiamine for healthy adults. It is low in sodium and is a good source of fiber and other important vitamins and minerals. A complex carbohydrate food source, it provides beta carotene which may be a factor in reducing the risk of certain cancers.

For the most food value, choose sweet potatoes of a deep orange color.

When buying sweet potatoes, select sound firm roots. Handle them carefully to prevent bruising. Storage in a dry, unrefrigerated bin kept at 55-60 degrees F. is best. DO NOT REFRIGERATE, because temperatures below 55 degrees F. will chill this tropical vegetable giving it a hard core and an undesirable taste when cooked.

Wash cured sweet potatoes and bake or boil until slightly soft. If boiled, drain immediately. Thoroughly cool the baked or boiled sweet potatoes. Wrap individually (skins left on) in freezer film or foil and place in plastic freezer bags. Seal, label and freeze.

Most sweet potato dishes freeze well. Save time and energy by making a sweet potato dish to serve and one to store in the freezer.

Helpful Hints:

  • Bake a large pan of sweet potatoes at the same time. This saves time and energy. Freeze for later use or store the sweet potatoes in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days.
  • Freshly dug or uncured sweet potatoes are better boiled and used in dishes that include fruits or syrups. The curing process makes the sweet potato sweeter and improves the cooking quality.

Sweet potatoes can be baked, boiled, fried, broiled, canned or frozen. They can also be cooked in the microwave oven.

Before cooking sweet potatoes, scrub skin and trim off any bruised or woody portions.

If you are cutting calories, serve a plain sweet potato, cut down on margarine or butter and use skim milk or unsweetened orange juice as liquid when you prepare mashed sweet potatoes.

A freshly baked or boiled sweet potato is delicious and nutritious. You need only to add a pat of butter or serve it plain. Don’t feel that you must add high-calorie ingredients to make the sweet potato acceptable.

Rub a little fat or oil over clean and dry sweet potatoes of uniform size. Place on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F. until soft, 30 to 50 minutes, depending on size. Sweet potatoes that are greased before baking peel easily.

  • Boiled Sweet Potatoes: Drop clean sweet potatoes into enough boiling water to cover them. Cover pan and return water to boiling as quickly as possible. Lower heat and cook until tender. Drain at once. Peel and season with butter and salt to taste. Use 1 medium sweet potato per person. Boiled sweet potatoes can be used for pies, cookies, casseroles, glazed, candied or frozen.
  • Deep Fat French Fried Sweet Potatoes: Pare and cut into length-wise strips, about 1/2 inch thick. Heat oil in fryer to 365 degrees F. Keep fry basket in fat as it heats. Raise basket and add enough sweet potato strips to cover bottom of basket. Lower basket slowly into hot fat. If fat bubbles much, lift and lower basket until bubbling subsides. Fry until sweet potato strips are brown and tender. Remove from hot oil and drain onto paper towels. Sprinkle with salt, if desired. Spread sweet potatoes on baking sheet and place in a warm oven while others are being cooked.
  • Charcoal Broiled Sweet Potatoes: Rub a little fat over clean sweet potato skins. Wrap double foil loosely around sweet potatoes. Cook in coals for about 45 minutes. Keep warm on edge of grill.
  • Skillet Sweet Potatoes: In large deep skillet, heat 1 1/2 inch deep vegetable oil to 365 degrees F. Add sweet potato strips to cover bottom of skillet; fry 5 minutes or until brown and tender. Remove from hot oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt or powdered sugar.
  • Microwave Sweet Potatoes: For best results, choose uniform size sweet potatoes. Pierce washed sweet potatoes with a fork. Place on paper towel on shelf of microwave oven 1 inch apart. Turn sweet potatoes over and rearrange after half of cooking time. Cook on HIGH power level. Cooking time will vary, depending on the number of sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes            Minutes

1                               4   –   6

2                               6   –   8

3                               8  –  12

4                              12  –  16

5                              16  –  20

Sweet potatoes may still feel firm when done. Let stand 5 minutes to soften.

SWEET POTATO PECAN PIE (Makes one 9-inch pie)

1 (9 – inch) unbaked pastry shell
1 pound (2 medium) sweet potatoes (yams!), cooked and peeled
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 (14 – ounce) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, (NOT evaporated milk)
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
Pecan Topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large mixer bowl, beat hot sweet potatoes with margarine until smooth. Add remaining ingredients except pastry shell and Pecan Topping; mix well. Pour into pastry shell. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven; spoon Pecan Topping evenly over top. Bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool. Serve warm or chilled. Refrigerate leftovers.

Pecan Topping: In small mixer bowl, combine 1 egg, 3 tablespoons dark corn syrup, 3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon margarine or butter, melted, and teaspoon maple flavoring; mix well. Stir in 1 cup chopped pecans.

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