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Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Sweet Life, Its Sweet Potato Time

Autumn begins this week! 

The evenings are cooler and even a bit brisk in the mornings.  The cool breezes through open windows carry the sounds of birds waking in the morning.  Its a nice way to wake up but encourages snuggling in for just a few minutes longer.

Sweet Potato in Flower just this morning

Waukee's forecast

With cooler weather becoming inevitable its time for me to harvest our sweet potatoes.  Sweet potatoes require a curing period in warm, humid conditions.  This process heals any nicks or scratches in the skin which will help them store better, as well as helps convert the starches to sugars. 

Ideal conditions are 80-90°F (27-32°C) with 80-90% humidity.  The curing process takes several days under these conditions, but may take up to a couple weeks if not quite warm or humid enough. Too hot and they can start to rot.

Sweet potatoes are nutrient powerhouses.  Rich in beta-carotene and B vitamins, they also have a healthy dose of fiber and a good source of complex carbohydrates.  Also, baking sweet potatoes causes a chemical change that boosts Vitamin C.  Eating a variety of less common starches, like sweet potatoes, is a great way to promote good gut-health.

Slips early this Spring

The simplest way to prepare sweet potatoes is to just pop them in the oven.  After scrubbing them a bit, pierce the skin with a fork multiple times, put them in a preheated 350° oven until soft through, about an hour for large ones.

Another popular way to eat them, and one of my favorites is Sweet Potato Fries!  I even prefer them to regular French Fries. Slice into strips, toss in a bowl with spices and just a little olive oil (just to coat), bake on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Carrot & Sweet Potato Stew

A hearty Sweet Potato and Carrot Stew is another great way to eat them, perfect for later in the Fall or Winter.  However I cannot find the recipe, so I will just have to leave you with this picture, for now.

Have a great weekend and maybe we'll see you out at the Blank Park Zoo's Monarch Festival!

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