Baked Sweet Potatoes
Each Saturday I get inspired by walking around my local farmers market. The people you meet, the stories you hear, and the passion for their craft is evident.
Harold is a local farmer I see each week and he always has a story to tell me. Sometimes it’s about a dish he made using something from the farm or that someone gave him a dish to try using a secret ingredient. This week he told me about the different varieties of sweet potatoes he grows on his farm. Harold took the time to explain each variety to me telling me its name, where it came from, how it tasted, and of course how to best prepare each one.
There's more than one variety of Sweet Potato
Now I know a lot about sweet potatoes. I have loved them all my life. We even celebrate this delicious vegetable each year in my home town of Darlington at the Sweet Potato Festival. Back in the day I can remember hanging out all day on the square enjoying the various activities until it concluded with the annual Yam Jam that night. I always thought it was funny to call it the “Yam Jam” because we all know that the Sweet Potato isn’t a yam. In fact it’s not even a potato, it’s the root of a Herbaceous plant. Plainly said: it’s a vegetable. Some would even call it a super food because it’s a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. Not only is this little gem good for you, it’s also very versatile. You can eat them raw, baked, fried, mashed, candied, roasted...well you get the picture.
Oh here’s a little tidbit of information for my friends that are type 2 diabetic: Sweet Potatoes aren’t potatoes, so nutritionally they don’t count as a starch. That’s right. Sweet potatoes count as a vegetable. Now a word of caution, if you load it down with butter and sugar this super food will not be as good for you as it once was. I have had a lot of fun over the last few weeks trying new recipes that let the sweet potato shine. Not only could I not narrow this down to my favorite recipe. I couldn’t even decide on just one variety. They were all different and good in their own way. What I did decide is how Blessed we all are to live in an area that has access to high quality fresh fruits and vegetables. Thank you to all the people that had a vision for the local farmers markets. If you live in the South like I do you, then you have multiple choices to get local fresh fruits and vegetables. The benefits run deep and wide whether you’re the small farmer having access to the market or the young family trying to get healthy options for dinner. I would encourage you to go visit the market near you, I will be at our new City Center Farmers market when it opens in downtown Florence this month looking for inspiration.