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Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Way I Bake Sweet Potatoes

sweet potatoes tonight

My twenty-five-cent per pound sweet potatoes are delicious the way I cook them. Look at the "juice" in the bottom of the pan. More about that another day.

*Wash the sweet potatoes. Mine today needed little more than a rub as I rinsed them.

*Lay them on a dish towel. They need to be dry to continue. I have done this all sorts of ways, but they seem to dry faster lying on a towel. If you put them on the counter, on a plate, or in a pan, they sit just sit in puddles of draining water.

*Buying you more time for the sweet potatoes to dry, you now need to trim anything that suits your fancy--dark places, the ends, whatever. If you don't cut anything, then take a fork and stick it in three times across the top of the sweet potato as it is lying in the pan. That hurts my hand, so I just take a knife and slice across the top three times. This is to cut the skin, so you don't have to make deep cuts, just shallow cuts to break the skin. You do NOT want an exploding sweet potato in your oven.

*Put a tablespoon of olive oil or any oil in a small saucer. Pick up a sweet potato and stick your fingers  of the other hand in the olive oil. As you rub the oil on the sweet potato, you will get olive oil all over your hands. Just go with it and wipe the oil off instead of washing your hands. You just softened your hands as you cooked.

*My neighbor used bacon grease that was sitting in an iron skillet on the stove to oil her sweet potatoes. I may try that one day, using the half-pint of bacon grease sitting in the refrigerator.

*My 94-year-old neighbor taught me how to do all this. She used three iron skillets and an iron griddle to bake them in the oven. They are best in an iron skillet. However, I spent a lot of effort trying not to lift heavy things today, doctor's orders. Now, I just use an aluminum pan or a broiler pan with a piece of parchment paper in the bottom so I don't have to deal with oozed out and then cooked on sweet potato.

*Turn the oven to 350 F.

*When you choose a pan and use parchment paper, let the paper run up the sides of the pans so that the sweet potato "juice" won't run off the paper and stick to the pan.

*Put the pans of sweet potatoes in a 350 F oven. Depending on the size of the sweet potato, bake for approximately 1 hour. The way I test for doneness is to take a pot holder and sort of squeeze the sweet potato. When it yields to a gentle squeeze, it's done. The sweet potato will be very soft. If you have different sizes of sweet potatoes, you can removed from the oven the ones that are done, leaving the larger ones to cook a bit longer.

*By cooking a week's worth of sweet potatoes, I save on electricity. Besides, it is just as easy to cook a dozen as it is to cook two sweet potatoes. Of course, if you only have room in the oven for one or two sweet potatoes, that is good, too.

*Please don't microwave! The flavor is just not as good.

*I have used the baked sweet potatoes as a substitute for pumpkin in pies and pumpkin bread. Try it; it's delicious.

Varieties

Georgia Jet is the best and sweetest sweet potato around. Get these if you can. However, you must not buy them for storage. They just don't last the winter.

Beauregard is the variety I buy because they are next best after Georgia Jet. I never need sugar or butter.

At the grocery store, when I ask about the variety, even the produce manager never knows. That is why I sought the farmer. Some sweet potatoes are so pale and tasteless and stringy that I just will not eat them.

Today
I baked four chicken breasts in the oven in a large cooking bag alongside a turkey in the turkey-sized turkey bag and 12 sweet potatoes. Half the sweet potatoes and all the turkey except the breast went home with exbf. The giblets have been cooked for the hens. I thought dinner was delicious--turkey, sweet potatoes, field peas with snaps.

Your turn
Do you bake sweet potatoes like I do? Rub with oil? Are you ever aware of the variety of sweet potato that you buy?

 

 

30 comments:

  1. I buy Beauregard and the market I buy from does label them. They're wonderful! I was never a sweet potato eater until I tried a recipe I found online for a dish with cream and butter. Hubby used to have t o buy a can of them once in awhile when he had a craving, but now I just make the casserole recipe every couple of weeks---we so look forward to it.
    Believe it or not, I've never just baked one. I'll try it...but I'm not well-behaved like you--I'll have to slather too much butter on it-LOL!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Sue,
      I wonder why they aren't labeled in the land of sweet potatoes. ???puzzling

      Just promise me you will try one first, plain, and then slather away if you must. You don't have to slather butter on Beauregard. Hot is best.

      Delete
  2. We are not sweet potato eaters here, except for Benjamin...so I hardly ever make them. But when I do, I make it almost the same way you do....

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    1. Rachel,
      Sweet potatoes are good for people with diabetes to eat. Just plain good for bodies. No one I know makes them like she taught me. My daughter microwaves them and sugars them down...yuck.

      Delete
  3. Linda...I have always done my sweet potatoes this way unless we were in a big hurry and microwaved them. My granny would rub them done with lard and put them in a big pan. The peelings come off much easier. Smashed up with a bunch of butter...Nothing any better!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Mama Bear,
      No one around here bakes them this way. Lard would certainly work. Oh, I do love them with butter, but with the Beauregards, butter does not seem necessary. You are correct. They are great.

      Delete
  4. I cook my sweet potatoes exactly this way: with bacon grease and homegrown sweets: YUMMY!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How about that? And no one around here cooks them this way! Yummy is correct.

      Delete
  5. I would enjoy them cooked that way, but with oil rather than bacon fat.

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    1. Snowbrush,
      How do you cook them? There is so little bacon fat that it would not hurt you. I suppose people rubbed sweet potatoes with whatever they had.

      Delete
    2. I either bake them as is or bake them in a casserole, although I have cooked them much as you describe but with butter. While there might not be much bacon fat in them, I don't eat meat, so it's irrelevant how much meat there is.

      Delete
    3. Snowbrush,
      I understand now. However, if you will eat butter from a cow, is that not sort of the same as eating fat from an animal? On 12 sweet potatoes, I used less than one tablespoon of olive oil. THEN, a lot of that was on the palms of my hands.

      If you don't eat meat, I understand why you would not want bacon fat. I think butter might burn. But, I really don't know.

      Delete
  6. I cook them in a very similar way too. And often add some fresh rosemary to the pan while they are baking. Yummo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC,
      Interesting. I have never heard of Rosemary and sweet potatoes. Yummo is correct.

      Delete
  7. Hi Linda...growing up, sweet potatoes were always savory. I can remember my mother including them with a beef roast. I did not encounter sweet potatoes with marshmallows, etc. until after I was married. I still prefer them with butter, salt and pepper, but I must confess I nuke them. Your photo looks so yummy I am going to try this. Carol

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Carol,
      Marshmallows on sweet potatoes is gross to me. I am not a fan of savory sweet potatoes. Even though I don't use butter and sugar, I do like to buy a sweet variety. They are less sweet when nuked.

      Delete
  8. My mom wraps hers in foil and bakes. I don't like to use foil or anything I have to throw away, so I wash, stab and bake in a glass casserole dish with a lid. I've never rubbed them with any oil. Of course, if anyone had told me growing up I would be looking for sweet potato recipes as an adult I would have thought them crazy :-) I was raised in CA but my husband comes from KY so he has always liked them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Patti,
      I have heard of wrapping sweet potatoes in foil, but have never done so. I am glad your husband likes them. Your method of baking is good--no foil. I am glad you like sweet potatoes now.

      Delete
  9. My family came from Arkansas ... I have never heard of rubbing sweet potatoes with oil/fat of any kind. I just prick them a couple of times and toss them directly on the rack ....but I must admit that sweet potatoes can be messy. Next time I will give serious thought to laying a piece of foil on the lower rack before baking. Honestly .... my oven isn't really that dirty...It is one of those self cleaning jobs and I run that feature pretty regularly. I do try to keep up on that maintenance stuff. In fact I was on my belly vacuuming under the fridge just this afternoon. My appliances are just about 22 years old and still functioning (except for the dishwasher....I am on my 3 one in that time)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Janet,
      I have run into more people on my blog after this post that do oil than I have in real life. I have the self-cleaning oven, too, but have never used it because it scares me. As for me, I would NEVER put them directly on the oven rack because of all the juice/sugar and oil that comes out. Your appliances are lasting a long time like mine do.

      Delete
  10. This sounds so good. I'm hungry again.

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    Replies
    1. Sonya Ann,
      They ARE so delicious. I just ate one for breakfast since I slept so late.

      Delete
  11. " if you will eat butter from a cow, is that not sort of the same as eating fat from an animal?"

    I don't eat butter anymore, but I agree with your implication that the vegan way is the only consistent way. For the last 26 years, I've eaten fish, and I never did give up eggs, although I do buy real farm eggs because few places are more cruel than egg factories.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Snowbrush,
      I am torn because I still will eat meat from tortured animals. But, my hens give me eggs. They are pampered hens. Hens are just about the most defenseless of animals. To see someone deliberately hurt them made me sick. So, I got my own. Thelma is almost five years old and gives an egg once or twice a month. Patsy Cline give me about six eggs each week, enough for me and enough to freeze.

      I guess we all have some inconsistencies in our working out our ideologies. Someday, I will be able to afford meat from pampered animals. I have no intention of giving up meat, but I have cut back.

      I also hope to someday be able to raise enough hens to have someone slaughter and dress them for me. someday...

      Does your wife eat meat?

      Delete
    2. Peggy continued eating meat for a few years after I stopped, but since I did the cooking, she only got meat away from home, and as a result, she lost her taste for it. Now, she won't eat it at all. I would guess that a lot of what passes for inconsistencies might actually be hypocrisies.

      Delete
    3. Snowbrush,
      I see. If I had someone who did the cooking, I suppose that meat would not be too important. I would not let any meat pass through my lips until I was six-years-old. At that point, I decided it was the best thing on earth.

      I would not necessarily call it hypocrisy as long as a person is not a zealot and then indulges in that which is condemned. I think we all are inconsistent on some points.

      Delete
  12. I'm coming to your place for super. Be right over! :-) I've pinned these instructions so I won't lose them. Being from the North it's nice to hear how it's really supposed to be done.Thanks a bunch, Linda!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Sue,
      You will eventually have the oil all over both hands! As for drying the potatoes, just let them drain of the towel. You do not have to dry with anything. A little moisture is okay, just not dripping.

      I have a place at the table set for you.

      Delete
  13. I've always just MASHED sweet taters - never baked 'em - yet!

    Will certainly try the sweet (oily) tater soon. We love ordinary baked spuds, which are filling and healthy.

    Regards Phil H.

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    1. Phillip,
      They are really not oily, promise. One Tablespoon of oil rubbed on a dozen potatoes does not make oily potatoes. I bake mine when I mash them. Do you peel them and boil them to mash them? Thanks for sharing.

      Delete

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