Happy New Year!
It’s been a wonderful, relatively relaxing holiday season. I took a little break from the computer the last few days to rest my hand and my mind, and it’s been quite revitalizing. I’m happy to share that my new service offerings are getting some attention from interested readers, and that this year is already promising to be an exciting ride! If you’re on the fence about starting a wellness program with me, consider the free intro call to get an idea of what I do and how I might be able to help you achieve your goals, and we can take it from there. Simply send me a message from the Contact Me page to inquire, and I’ll get right back to you.
Sweet Potato Puree
In this, my first post of 2015, I’m going to share a very simple set of instructions for creating an ingredient that often comes in a can — Sweet Potato Puree. I like making sweet potato puree myself, because I’m avoiding the BPA from the cans, and I’m also controlling how long it cooks and what varieties of sweet potatoes I use. (You’d be surprised at how many you can find!) It also just tastes better fresh, as most things do.
The most common use of sweet potato puree is probably to make pie around the holidays, but there are really quite a few delicious things you can do with this simple raw ingredient. This week and next, I’ll share an absolutely decadent Sweet Potato Soup and a simply delicious Sweet Potato Pound Cake, but those two examples are just the beginning. Sweet potato puree works great in smoothies, baking, gluten-free pancakes, and in casseroles. It works as a thickener in some recipes, and it’s even delicious as a snack mixed with Greek yogurt, chopped pecans, and a touch of maple syrup. Try it! It’s delicious.
You Say Potato, I Say…
Before we go any further, let’s clear up the difference between a sweet potato and a yam. It’s commonly thought that the root with bright orange flesh eaten around the holidays is called a yam. It’s not. It’s a sweet potato. Yes, a yam is a type of sweet potato, but very few true yams are sold in the US, according to the sweet potato experts over at North Carolina Sweet Potatoes. They get into the nitty gritty, so feel free to check out all the differences between a yam and a sweet potato there. An important distinction is that eating a raw sweet potato is perfectly harmless while eating a raw yam is bad news.
I’m only going into this because I’ve been wrong about it in the past and was once again second-guessing my sweet potato taxonomy as I was preparing this entry. So there it is. In truth, this distinction in name doesn’t really matter all that much here in the US unless someone tries to correct you, in which case you can refer them to this post and tell them to shut their sweet potato pie hole. Aren’t you glad we cleared this up? I know I yam.
Roasting the Sweet Potatoes
The cooking step for making this puree could go a few different ways. The easiest way is to rinse the whole sweet potato, poke a few holes in it, wrap it in foil, and bake it for at least an hour. Then simply scrape the meat out, discard the skin, and pound out as I’ll show you in a moment.
Because my potatoes were peeled for a recipe that didn’t end up happening, I was left with 2 giant peeled potatoes that would have been a mess to bake skinless. This is why I roasted. As a side note, I thought it might take less time to roast this way, but in the end, it didn’t really. Here’s how I did it.
- Preheat oven to 400
- Chop two large peeled sweet potatoes into equal-sized chunks
- Fill two loaf pans or one small deep pan (not a cookie sheet) with the chunks
- Rinse and drain, then add in about an inch of water in each pan
- Scoop small amounts of coconut oil out of the jar with a spoon and place them evenly along the top of the potatoes
- Place in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes
- Remove the pans from the oven and stir, making sure the potatoes that were on the top are now on the bottom and vice versa to avoid any of them drying out
- Check the bottom of the pan to make sure nothing is getting brown or burnt. If so, add a bit more water to the bottom.
- Place back in the oven and roast for another 30 minutes
- Potatoes are done when a fork easily mashes the pieces
For some reason, I wanted to complete this project without using my stove. But more importantly, my main goal was to end up with pure sweet potatoes, not watered-down mush that would be hard to store. The desire to skip the stove and not end up with a “baby food” consistency eliminated the immersion blender and brought out the kitchen mallet! The following instructions are the next steps whether you bake the potatoes whole or roast them in cubes. The puree should keep in your fridge for up to 3 months.
- Once the potatoes have cooled to room temperature, transfer them to a gallon sized freezer bag (I only needed one for 2 giant sweet potatoes, but just make sure you have enough room to work; otherwise split it into two bags)
- Zip the bag up leaving just about an inch or two of the bag open to allow for air to escape
- Using the flat side of a kitchen mallet, hammer out the potatoes until they become one smooth consistency
- If you’d like to portion out the potatoes into 1 cup servings, do so with smaller freezer bags, otherwise it works to freeze it all together
- Label with the date and freeze in the flattened state for a quick defrost when you’re ready to use it
NEXT UP: Sweet Potato Soup
Get excited for this decadent, warming soup that’s sweet all on its own. I didn’t add even a drop of maple syrup, and I couldn’t believe my taste buds! See you Friday!