This summer I had my first go at growing sweet potatoes. If I am completely honest I rather neglected them, putting them in late and failing to provide the necessary cosseting for them to give their best.
Summer’s a busy time and there’s always some well-intentioned experiment that falls by the wayside. Despite all this, they did grow and they did crop. I dug them up last week and the biggest are currently ‘curing’ in a heated propagator. Unsurprisingly, given the lack of TLC, the yield wasn’t huge but it wasn’t awful either. I am impressed, especially since they were planted outside. I’m now fired up to try again next year and will treat them properly this time.
The concept is really exciting. This is a tropical/sub-tropical plant in origin but much work has been done over recent years to breed a viable cultivar for UK conditions. Warmth is the key: they will perform best in a greenhouse border but you could try a large pot in a sunny conservatory. I think I can make room for a couple in the polytunnel next year. Failing that, choose a sheltered sunny spot outdoors. Planting into black plastic mulch will help, as will covering the plants with cloches. I did neither of these things.
Although it is technically possible to start from seed, a far more reliable method of propagation is to buy ‘slips’, small sections of tuber, from a seed company. Avoid supermarket tubers: they are unlikely to be suited to our climate and may harbour disease. The same goes for supermarket potatoes and garlic, incidentally. The slips will be delivered in spring. Pot them up immediately and cover with a clear plastic bag until they have rooted. Grow on somewhere warm and light, potting up as required (I was quite slow to do this too!) before gradually hardening them off and planting out in early June, after the last frost.
Sweet potatoes like a fertile, slightly acidic sandy loam and need regular watering to thrive. They do not like clay soils or being waterlogged. Planting into a raised bed or ridge of soil improves drainage and a mulch to conserve moisture is beneficial, as is fortnightly feeding. The plant is in the bindweed family but the inherent tastiness of its tubers goes a little way towards compensating for the havoc wreaked by its weedy garden relatives. Unsurprisingly then, the foliage produced is vine-like in habit and can grow up to 2m long. They can be trained up netting/supports or just left to trail across the ground. Tender young leaves can be eaten like spinach, apparently, but I figured that my plants needed all the leaves they could get! There is no need to earth them up, as with ordinary potatoes. In fact, despite the name, the two plants are only very distantly related.
The underground tubers are ready to harvest in autumn, once the foliage has died back. They must be dug up carefully, as they bruise easily at first. The skins can be toughened and keeping qualities improved by ‘curing’ them somewhere warm, sunny and humid for a week, which simply means outside in the tropics but in the UK in November means inside a propagator or even an airing cupboard. It is a very valuable crop in hot, humid counties because it stores well despite the climate. There are many cultivars worldwide and tubers come in other shapes and colours besides the elongated orange one seen most commonly in shops here.
Have a look at some of Jamie’s own sweet potato recipes or learn all about sweet potatoes at the Vegepedia.
10 Ideas on What to Do with Sweet Potatoes (incl. Recipes)
Whether you're looking for ideas on what to do with those leftover sweet potatoes in your fridge, or whether you're just looking for some new recipes to reap the much-touted health benefits of sweet potatoes, you've come to the right place. Below, we take a look at a bunch of creative (and some less creative but still delicious) ways of using sweet potatoes in cooking. If you need even more ideas and inspiration, check out The Sweet Potato Lover's Cookbook.
Sweet Potato Popsicles Are a Healthy and Delicious Summer Treat — And They’re So Easy to Make
Sweet potatoes have long been a delicious dish packed with loads of vitamins and minerals — and also plenty of flavor. You’re probably used to eating them as part of lunch or dinner, but did you know that frozen sweet potatoes could also make the perfect snack for a hot summer day?
Sweet potato ice cream has been around for a while (if you want to try it for yourself, here’s a recipe!), but a chef named George Lee posted an easier way to freeze baked sweet potatoes and get the same — albeit much healthier — treat. And it doesn’t require a fancy ice cream mixer or other specialized kitchen gadgets!
The recipe is incredibly simple, and all you need are sweet potatoes. Lee points out that various types of sweet potatoes may have different sugar levels. He recommends sweeter Taiwanese, Japanese, or Korean ones and only says to stay away from Okinawan ones (known for their purple hue) since they’re much starchier and therefore not as sweet. He also explains to look for ones that are around 300 to 400 grams each and aren’t especially long or round.
From there, bake your sweet potatoes anywhere from 40 to 80 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. You may need to check on them periodically to make sure they’re not burning. You’ll know they’re done when the skin is a bit brown and soft enough to tear. After that, place them in your freezer for at least four hours, pull them out, pull away the skin, and voila, you’ve got frozen sweet potato treats — no popsicle stick required!
Frozen Sweet Potato Summer Is Upon Us
Summer in Taiwan made George Lee’s skin itch: The humidity trapped the sweat on his body, the air thick and heavy. On these “dreadful” days, Lee dipped into a convenience store, making a beeline for the freezer, its door soaked with condensation. He’d pluck one of the perforated plastic bags and re-emerge into the sweltering heat, pulling a frozen sweet potato out of the freezer bag, biting into the custardy cold flesh. Then — and only then — summer was bearable. “It’s so nostalgic,” says Lee, a 19-year-old cook, who has amassed an immense fanbase on Instagram and TikTok for his vegan cooking videos and recipes. “It has this caramel ice cream flavor and texture.”
In Taiwan, Lee says that the wonderfully simple treat of a frozen baked sweet potato (冰烤地瓜) is easy enough to find in a convenience store’s freezer, or in some places, sold on the street from coolers. In California though, where Lee now goes to school, he can’t just walk into a gas station and leave with a sweet potato popsicle. “You can’t find it anywhere. You just have to make it on your own,” he says.
Recently, Lee shared a video explaining how to prepare this snack with his half-million Instagram followers, and there were more than a few confused comments. Many of his followers, he realized only after posting the video, had never eaten a still-frozen sweet potato. They couldn’t picture the texture of the icy tuber: “Would it be solid… when I eat them the next day,” asked one commenter. “Eat frozen or let it defrost?” asked another, with a confused hand-to-chin emoji. “I didn’t expect people would be so surprised,” Lee says. “A lot of people were like, ‘What is this?’ A minority of my audience who are based in Taiwan were like, ‘This is my favorite thing ever.’ I just love to see that people feel like they can reconnect with part of their childhood or their culture, through watching some of my videos.”
The process, as Lee outlines in the recipe on his website, is really quite simple. If Lee were still in Taiwan, he’d start with a certain orange sweet potato variety which he hasn’t been able to find in America. In the States, he opts for Japanese sweet potatoes, the purple-skinned satsuma-imo, with its pale yellow flesh. “You have to choose small- to medium-size sweet potatoes, because larger ones tend to be starchier and harder to cook evenly,” he says. Lee turns the sweet potatoes over in his hands, making sure they haven’t started sprouting — once they begin to sprout, he says, the sugars leech out. He scrubs the skin, polishing away any dirt, so it’s good to eat once the potato is baked. (“The skin is really, really good. Like, so tasty.”)
Lee then balances the cleaned sweet potatoes directly on an oven shelf, the temperature set to 450 degrees, so the high heat can circulate evenly. The sweet potatoes cook for about an hour, but Lee says he knows they’re done when he squeezes them with his tongs and “the skin feels hollow, because we didn’t poke any holes or anything in the skin. The moisture in the sweet potato will come out and push the skin outward. So the flesh will separate from the skin.” When sugars begin to ooze from each sweet potato — you may want to put a sheet tray on the shelf below — the smell of dark caramel fills the kitchen.
From here, there are two options. On days when he doesn’t feel like waiting hours to eat, Lee places a sweet potato on an uncovered plate — to prevent condensation — in the freezer. After five or 10 minutes, a chill has set through to the center. This makes for a good, refreshingly chilled sweet potato, but it won’t bring on that ice cream texture — it’s worth seeing this process through to the end. When he has more time, and his craving isn’t so ferocious, Lee lets the sweet potatoes cool completely in their skin on the countertop before putting them in a freezer-safe bag. “Around five hours is the perfect freezing time,” he says. You’ll know they’re ready when the sweet potatoes take on a “soft and creamy texture. When you feel the sweet potato, you can feel that it’s firm, but it’s still soft, like grabbing ice cream that has a skin on it. Like a Häagen-Dazs ice cream bar.”
Without easy access to convenience store freezers loaded with sweet potatoes, Lee keeps a batch of home-baked ones in his freezer at all times. (There’s a good case to be made for keeping sweet potatoes in the freezer before baking, too.) “I eat one every morning while I have classes, or I’m doing work. It’s still frozen so you have to eat it slowly, and just savor the morning,” Lee says. As the comments on Lee’s Instagram video proved, it’s difficult to imagine just how creamy, how soothingly cold, how ice cream-y the freezer transformation of a sweet potato really is until you’ve tried it for yourself. As Lee puts it when I ask him to elaborate on the flavor: “It just tastes like summer.”
How Are Yams and Sweet Potatoes.
Growing Sweet Potatoes
When to Harvest Vegetables and.
Sweet Potato Facts and Health.
Root Cellars: Types and Storage.
Purple Reigns! Why Purple Foods.
10 Tricks for Growing Tons of.
Grow an Indoor Salad Garden From.
Favorite Winter Squash Varieties
5 Fast-Growing Vegetables to Try
The best homemade sweet potato rounds step by step.
Peel the sweet potatoes. If you choose to make this recipe leaving the skin on, make sure you wash them thoroughly.
Slice the sweet potatoes into 1 inch thick slices. Yes, they are that thick. That is why my kids call them "sweet potato muffins." Because they are thick, the outside crisps up in the oven while the inside gets all mushy and fluffy, almost like a custard donut filling.
Drizzle olive oil over the tops of the slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub it into each slice with your hand so that all of the surfaces get covered in oil, salt, and pepper.
Bake at 425ºF for 15 minutes. Take them out of the oven and flip the slices over. Some of them might be soft already so be careful when flipping them over. Oooh, look at that.
Bake for 15 more minutes, flip again. Finally, bake for another 15 minutes and take them out of the oven. Sweet potato medallions are done!
Our top 11 recipes will show you that there is definitely more to sweet potatoes than chaat, salads or soups. Whether you stick with the classics or like to experiment, be rest assured that you'll be pleased!
1. Candied Sweet Potatoes with Black Sesame
Time to deviate from the usual as here comes a dessert made with sweet potatoes, caramel and black sesame seeds. It offers a taste that lingers. (Recipe Video)
Sweet potatoes tossed with soy caramel and black sesame seeds, perfect side dish for brunch.
2. Sweet Potato Medallions
This exciting snack is made with baked sweet potatoes that are marinated in a date and tamarind chutney and then pan seared. Served with some spring onion cream, it's a dish that's sure to be attacked and acknowledged. (Recipe Video)
Sweet potato medallions
3. Shakarkandi ki Chaat
The good old shakarkandi ki chaat! Make it fresh at home with chaat masala, chillies and lime juice. The sweet and sour flavor will leave your taste buds wanting more.
A tangy and sweet chaat made with sweet potatoes mingled in chaat masala, chillies and lime juice.
4. Aubergine Masala with Sweet Potato Mash
Go gourmet with this simple yet stylish dish. Creamy sweet potato mash served on strips of spiced aubergine.
5. Sweet Potato Fries with Amla Aioli
This one's a perfect winter snack. Thinly sliced sweet potatoes dipped in delectable batter and fried crisp. It is served with a unique dip made with jalepenos, basil, shallots and amla. (Recipe Video)
Delicious finger food to serve at a party or get-together.
6. Root Vegetable Tikkis
Perfect with your cup of tea, these crisp tikkis are made with sweet potatoes, yam and potatoes. The subtle and soft texture will easily win you over. (Recipe Video)
Tikkis made of baked sweet potatoes, yams and potatoes, mixed in with seasoning and fried crisp.
7. Sweet Potato Puffs
A crisp and easy snack to make your kids happy and sneak in some sweet potatoes in their meals.
Crispy, easy and quick snack that your kids would love to binge on!
8. Sweet Potato and Quinoa Bowl
A super healthy meal loaded with fibre and protein. Sweet potato chunks, earthy quinoa and loads of veggies come together to make a wholesome meal.
A perfect recipe for those looking out for a healthy bite without hassle.
9. Sweet Potato Rice
A great recipe to pack in your or your kid's lunch box. It's an easy way add vitamin-rich sweet potatoes to your diet.
A quick lunch with rice and sweet potatoes along with a gingery kick.
10. Sweet Potato Cold Soup
A subtlety sweet soup with strong flavours of sweet potatoes, cashews and pineapple to delight your senses.
This cold soup brings together some of Goa's favourite ingredients.
11. Hassel Back Sweet Potatoes
A perfect snack to accompany a get-together with family and friends. Hassel back sweet potatoes are easy and can be made with simple ingredients. Prepare this sweet and salty snck to relish at a sunny Sunday brunch.Hassel back sweet potatoes.
For a ‘Proper Proper Proper’ Baked Sweet Potato, Freeze It First
Lucas Sin held a small purple sweet potato in each hand, his phone balanced on the kitchen counter recording. November in New York meant the chill was setting in, and Sin took to Instagram to share his memory of the winters he spent in China as a kid, along with a recipe for what he dubbed — in all caps — “proper proper proper sweet potatoes!!”
“It’s cold, it’s wintery,” he said, painting the picture for his 43,000 Instagram followers. “You’re walking down the street and you see a woman with a shovel and this gigantic wok filled with rocks or pebbles or coals, and she’s digging in there, just flipping potatoes and rotating, and you get this beautiful waft… it’s the perfect snack.” Sin explained the unique conditions that make those wok-roasted sweet potatoes so magical: The freezing they go through when left outside in China’s coldest regions improves the texture of the potato’s flesh, while cooking at such a high heat results in smoky, caramelized outer edges.
As a kid in Hong Kong — where it never got quite cold enough for sweet potatoes to actually freeze — Sin still ate a version of this snack. He’d walk the streets with his nose up until he found a vendor engulfed in a cloud of sweet steam. A cook, standing at a small cart, would pass the warm potatoes over a low counter. “During a certain time of the year, all around Hong Kong, if you’re lucky, you’ll smell this a block or two away. The sweet potato is nice and charred outside, super, super fluffy inside,” says Sin, who now lives in New York. “They serve the sweet potato inside a brown paper bag, and you walk along the street eating it.”
Sin is the lead chef at Junzi, a fast-casual Chinese restaurant with locations throughout New York City. When the pandemic hit, and with would-be diners and beginner home cooks around the country stuck at home, Sin drew a wider Instagram audience with the approachable Chinese recipes he shared to his page. When Sin posts a cooking tip or recipe, it’s not long before it seems all his followers are in their own kitchens, posting recreations of his tomato egg drop noodle soup or steamed eggs dotted with XO sauce and scallions.
Recreating this gooey, sugar-oozing sweet potato is simple, and from his home kitchen, Sin shared the process to Instagram: Scrub a few small sweet potatoes of any variety, and put them into the freezer for an hour or two. Then, roast them on parchment paper or aluminum foil at 450 degrees. After an hour or so, once caramelized sugar is seeping from the potatoes and trapped steam has separated the skin from the flesh, they’re finished. But as the chef points out, it’s near impossible to overcook a sweet potato, the sugars becoming more concentrated as they cook.
“One of the core tenets of Chinese cooking is that water is flavorless,” Sin tells me. “So a lot of Chinese technique is to force the water out of something so that what’s left behind is the more concentrated essence of that ingredient. [By freezing the potatoes first,] the inside of the sweet potato becomes ice. As these crystals form, they start to break up the cell walls within, without puncturing the skin.” Sin describes this process as essentially macerating the uncooked flesh, so that once it bakes, it takes on a smooth mashed potato-like texture. “It’s important that the skin isn’t punctured. All that stuff is stuck inside of the sweet potato.”
Holding it up to the camera in the original video, Sin cut into a baked sweet potato to show off its fluffy insides. Cooks at home were quick to follow his lead, moving ice cubes aside to fit sweet potatoes in their freezers. One commenter wrote that the sweet potato she’d baked using the method “tastes like winter in China.” Another said it brought back memories of their own time there.
Sin shows off a sweet potato, fresh out of the oven. Lucas Sin
“Instagram is a ridiculous place,” Sin says, laughing at the outsized response to his one-ingredient recipe. “My job is not content creation. I just tell people about Chinese food because I think people should know about it. Now, everyone and their mother are making this sweet potato.” Celebrities DM’d Sin, wanting more details on how to top their sweet potatoes, or asking if they should puncture the potatoes before baking. “What I love about the things that I have put up on Instagram is that they’re simultaneously so silly and so straightforward,” he says.
Sin topped his own sweet potato with whipped creme fraiche, spiced honey, toasted oats, and, as he put it “literally whatever is tasty and textured.” I sprinkled mine with homemade granola, and ate it at 3 p.m., still in my pajamas. On Instagram, others finished theirs off with sunflower butter, with dark and sticky date syrup, or just split them open and sprinkled them with salt.
Maybe going absolutely bonkers over a baked sweet potato does feel a little silly. But this snack, main course, dessert — however you treat it — is a fitting symbol for our shared emotional state as home cooks in the umpteenth month of this pandemic. We need something to feel special, to break us free of the monotony of cooking the same dishes with the same ingredients day, after day, after day. But still, for those of us privileged enough to be sequestered at home where we eat, work, and sleep, trips to the grocery store are infrequent. And unless you’re already somewhere where sweet potato vendors roam the streets, it’s going to be quite some time until boarding a flight and finding this treat, wrapped in a paper bag, is a safe option.
It’s reassuring to know that, though you’ve run out of flour and you’re low on eggs, that sprouting sweet potato in your cupboard can become something remarkable. You could follow in Sin’s footsteps and adorn it with spiced honey and black sugar. Or, he suggests, “just serve it as-is. It’s delicious.”
How To Make Roasted Sweet Potatoes In The Instant Pot
Step 1: Saute the sweet potato pieces
First put the sweet potato chunks in the Instant Pot with 2 tbsp of oil, and use the Instant Pot&rsquos &ldquoSaute&rdquo function to saute the sweet potato pieces to make them golden-brown and bring out caramelized flavor (about 5 minutes).
Sauteing is the &ldquosecret step&rdquo in this recipe! If you don&rsquot saute first and just pressure cook the sweet potato pieces, they&rsquoll taste like boiled sweet potatoes, not roasted. Sauteing gives sweet potatoes golden-brown exterior and caramelized flavor!
If your Instant Pot doesn&rsquot have a Saute function (most models do), you can pan-fry the sweet potato pieces in a regular frying pan, and then transfer them to Instant Pot. Also, if you are cooking more than 2 sweet potatoes, you&rsquoll either have to saute them in batches, or use a frying pan to speed up the process.
Step 2: Pressure Cook Sweet Potatoes
Add 1/2 cup of water to the Instant Pot, close the lid, select the &ldquoPressure Cook&rdquo or &ldquoManual&rdquo option and pressure cook for 3 minutes on High pressure. When it finished cooking, quick release (QR) the steam, drain the roasted sweet potatoes and serve!
If you like Instant Pot roasted sweet potatoes, you will love these other easy recipes:
Instant Pot Baked Sweet Potatoes &ndash bake the whole sweet potatoes in the Instant Pot, super quick and easy!
Instant Pot Baked Apples &ndash stuffed with cinnamon and raisins and ready in 10 minutes! This healthy dessert is a true find!
Instant Pot Corn &ndash make a whole pot of perfect corn on the cob in the Instant Pot! This is the best method for making corn on the cob!
Instant Pot Easy Meatloaf &ndash the quickest and easiest way to make meatloaf! So tender, juicy and delicious!
Instant Pot Beef Chili &ndash just dump all the ingredients in the Instant Pot and get ready for a bowl of steaming hot chili! I love dump dinners!
How To Make A Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
This easy, one pan recipe come together with a few simple steps. Just follow along below and you’ll have a winning Thanksgiving side dish in no time.
- Boil the sweet potatoes. Bring a large pot of water to boil, peel and dice the sweet potatoes, and let them cook for 20-30 minutes.
- Mash the sweet potatoes. Drain them with a colander and mash the sweet potatoes in a large bowl with a hand masher or electric beater.
- Add the butter and milk into the bowl and mix until it’s creamy. Then add the seasonings and blend again.
- Make the crumble topping. First, roughly chop the pecans, dates, and pepitas and toss them in a large bowl. Then add the almond flour and butter and mix with your hands until everything is combined.
- Spread the sweet potato in a flat layer into a baking dish.
- Sprinkle the pecan crumble on top as thin, even layer.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top becomes a nice golden brown.
- Let it cool once you take it out of the oven, then serve!
Are sweet potatoes healthy?
Sweet potatoes are a whole food that pack a powerful nutritional punch. In one medium potato, you get over 400 percent of your daily vitamin A requirement. They are also high in fiber and potassium and are a great source of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that gives orange fruits and vegetables their vibrant color.
When buying sweet potatoes, avoid sweet potatoes with soft skin or wrinkles, cracks, or soft spots. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 to 5 weeks.