Thursday, December 3, 2015

Sweet Potato Smoothie

Recently, at the #SwitchtoSweet event I got an opportunity to learn about the American Sweet Potato. The non-profit organization, American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute, promotes the sweet potato industry of the United States to both foreign and domestic buyers. This organization promotes research in the science of sweet potato horticultural practices, processes and technologies to ensure the best quality produce. 
Sweet potatoes are root vegetables that are native to the USA that grow in 13 American states including North Carolina, Mississippi, California, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, New Jersey, Virginia and Tennessee. Sweet potatoes thrive in rich, fertile soil in hot and humid growing conditions. The sweet potatoes plants are herbaceous perennial vines with heart shaped leaves, flowers that are similar to morning glories and tuberous roots that grow into sweet potatoes.

American sweet potatoes are planted in May and early June through a transplanting process, which takes the delicate sweet potato seedling and plants it into rich, sandy soil. Harvesting begins in August or early September, after growing for over 100 days. They are handpicked, dug up from the ground by farmers in order to reduce damage to their delicate skin. After harvesting, the sweet potatoes are kept in their natural state and are brought to environmentally controlled warehouses where they undergo a curing process.


The curing process of American sweet potatoes lasts 7 days at 80°F (26°C) which gives them their distinct sweet taste. Curing is the natural process of converting starch into sugars, and this gives the potatoes more flavour. Curing sweet potatoes allows for constant supply of fresh and nutritious sweet potatoes throughout the year. It toughens the skin and heals any scars that may have occurred during harvesting. This also reduces the chance of decay. Nutritional values increase. A scientific study conducted at North Carolina State University found that the content of carotenoids in the sweet potatoes increased by 18 per cent after 8 months of storage.
Chef Sara Harrel showed how we can incorporate this versatile tropical vegetable into any meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Sweet potatoes can be cooked in different ways.

  • Baked: Prick the skin and bake at 400°F until done for about 40-50 minutes.
  • Steamed: In a steam basket under boiling water, peeled sweet potatoes can be steamed whole or cut into cubes in about 30-50 minutes.
  • Boiled: Peeled sweet potatoes can be steamed whole or cut into cubes in about 30-50 minutes, in a steam basket over boiling water.
  • Microwaved: Prick the skin and microwave on high power for four to six minutes for one medium sweet potato.

At the event I enjoyed a delicious smoothie, that I tried at home and everyone in my family enjoyed. To make this sweet potato smoothie you will need...
1 cup cold mashed American sweet potatoes
1 cup vanilla yogurt or plain yogurt
1 frozen banana cut into slices
1 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract optional
1/2 tbsp honey optional
Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree until it is smooth. You can adjust the consistency with either water and orange juice. You can place ripe bananas by peeling them and freezing it in a freezer bag to be used for smoothies.

Often Canadians use the words “yam” and “sweet potato” interchangeably. A yam is a starchy, edible tuber, generally with a drier taste than a sweet potato. Yams are rough, scaly, difficult to peel and has low in beta-carotene. Yams are imported into Canada from the Caribbean or Latin America.

American Sweet Potato varieties available in Canada are
Covington and Evangeline
• Rose coloured skin, deep orange flesh
• High in beta-carotene, Vitamin A, C and E
• Excellent for baking, steamed, pureed or frozen 
Beauregard
• Copper coloured skin, bright orange flesh
• High in beta-carotene, Vitamin A, C and E
• Excellent for baking, steamed, pureed or frozen
Murasaki (referred to as Batata or Oriental)
• Dark purple skin, creamy white flesh
• High in Anthocyanin, Vitamin C and dietary fibre, low in in beta-carotene
• Distinctive nutty flavour, good for baking, boiling or mashing

When you buy sweet potatoes, choose firm sweet potatoes with skin that is somewhat even in colour. Store in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area and use within a week or two of purchase. Do not refrigerate unless already cooked. Cold temperatures will cause a hard core and off taste when cooked.

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5 comments:

  1. What a great idea! I must give this a try too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Never thought to use sweet potato on a smoothie.....definitely something to try!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have never heard of sweet potatoo in a smoothie and not I am not sure I would like it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love sweet potatoes, but never thought of using it in a smoothie. I'm unsure if I would like it
    (Debbie W)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting :)

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