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Sweet potatoes are found globally; but mostly these are found in Central and South America and are one of the most primitive vegetables known to mankind. Their consumption has been recorded from prehistoric times and it has been revealed that sweet potato remains the longest used veggie, dating way back to 10,000 years.
Christopher Columbus brought sweet potatoes to Europe after his first tour to the New World in 1492. By the sixteenth century, they were brought to the Philippines by Spanish explorers and to Africa, India, Indonesia and southern Asia by the Portuguese.
In this duration also, sweet potatoes were cultivated in the southern United States, where they act as a staple food in the conventional cuisine. Globally, about eighty million tons of sweet potatoes are grown in China each year, with Africa producing about fourteen million tons, Central and South America about two million, and the U.S. about one million ton.
Inside the United States, more than half of all commercially grown sweet potatoes come from the southern states (especially North Carolina).
Before discussing the ways to prepare sweet potato, let's discuss its benefits:
Sweet potato helps in curing diseases/health issues like:
• Blood pressure
• Heart disease
Best Ways to Prepare Sweet Potatoes
1. Cooking A Sweet Potato
Baked sweet potatoes are possibly one of the nicest food items that can accomplish one's diet. Generally, baking them in the oven is a normal method, but it was felt that if the microwave oven and the cooker could enable similar or better results, it would be great.
In the research, the sweet potato was pricked with a fork and baked in a 400 degrees Fahrenheit temperature on a foil-lined baking sheet oven for almost an hour. The results were found to be proper and reliable, a soft, sweet interior, and dry exterior.
For the microwave, the sweet potato was poked with a fork a few times and put in the microwave on high for almost 6 minutes. It could take several minutes longer as per one's microwave and the size of his sweet potato, but regardless of this, this is still the fastest way to get a sweet potato on one's plate.
Sadly, the results were a bit poor. The interior was stiffer, and the flavour was not as deep or sweet. Still, once you load it up with relishing flavours, it's completely edible. If it weren't for comparing it to the other two potatoes, we would have liked it just as fine.
The slow cooker method takes several tries to attain the perfection. However, once the right technique is known to prepare it, then this method is superior to both microwave and the oven. To get the maximum benefits out of the slow cooker method, one really needs to wrap the sweet potatoes in a foil.
Leaving the sweet potatoes unwrapped, therefore makes one's sweet potato at risk for burning and drying out, whereas the foil would keep the moisture arrested inside. One can keep it 4 hours at a high temperature or 8 hours at low temperature.
The long and low method helps to caramelize the starches in the sweet potato, helping a fantastically designed soft interior with a deep, sweet flavour.
Hence, if one has time, the slow cooker will yield the softest, flavoured sweet potato around. But the oven and microwave are perfectly decent and fine options.
2. Other Requirements To Prepare Sweet Potatoes
Whenever there is a possibility, cook the sweet potatoes with their skins intact in their body, so that after cooking, it is easier to remove the peels of the sweet potatoes. And these peels also retain more nutrients.
These potatoes may be baked or boiled in whole and then peeled and sliced or cubed. However, peel the sweet potatoes before cooking, if they are to be added to soups or stews.
Encircle and cover a rimmed baking sheet with a foil. With a fork, pierce the sweet potatoes all over and place these pierced sweet potatoes on the foil and bake these until the fork gets soft and tender.
Bake them for 45 to 60 minutes. With a sharp knife, cut a line down the center of each sweet potato and then gently squeeze their ends to open. At the top of each sweet potato, mix 1 tablespoon butter and 1/8 teaspoon salt. The sweet potato can be thus prepared in this way.
Finally, it can be noted from above, that the above-discussed methods were the various methods which are devised for the preparation of sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are full of fibre content, and that's why they prove to be immensely useful for health. The sweetness in sweet potatoes never tends to harm anyone and it is certainly highly beneficial for health.