Mention sweet potato casserole and most people envision lightly browned marshmallows piled high on cut or mashed sweet potatoes mixed with plenty of brown sugar, maple syrup, butter, pecans, and extra marshmallows just in case it isn’t sweet enough. Sweet potatoes are a classic Thanksgiving ingredient. They are used in a variety of recipes including pies and side dishes. Yet, are often forgotten the rest of the year. What a shame – they are not only delicious, but one of the most nutritious foods known for its high vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber content.
Sweet potatoes are “nutrient-dense,” which means they contain nutrients such as vitamins and minerals with moderately few calories compared to calorie or energy-dense foods which provide calories with few nutrients such as candy, chips, and desserts. The two main types of sweet potato are dry-fleshed and moist-fleshed. They come in a variety of skin and flesh colors. The skin can be off-white, yellow, orange, tan, red, and purple. The flesh shades include orange, yellow, white, purple, and red. Dry-fleshed (firm variety) have a consistency similar to a white potato. Moist-fleshed (soft variety) are softer and have a sweeter flesh. Whichever type you choose, the preparation is simple. Clean the surface with cool tap water and scrub with a vegetable brush to remove surface residue (do not use detergent or soap); cut-out bruised areas. Then it is up to you – bake, boil, grill, microwave, roast, use in a recipe, or enjoy raw in salads and for dipping. They are so good you can eat them “naked.” Bake until soft and tender, mash as desired and enjoy. Think about it, a naked (plain) medium-sized sweet potato contains 103 calories, which is much lower than a typical serving of sweet potato casserole and doesn’t contain all the extra fat and added sugar. So, it’s up to you, a nutrient-dense naked sweet potato or calorie-dense sweet potato casserole.