Sweet potato is a plant with a pretty fascinating history. Although today we take it for granted, for a very long time, this veggie was exclusive for the region of Central America where it was domesticated by the indigenous peoples.
Therefore, potatoes got their first shot at global glory only when Christopher Columbus took them back to Europe from his famous voyage in 1492. The plant was extremely easy to grow so it became very popular in the famine-stricken regions of the Old World.
During the following centuries, sweet potato conquered Asia, Africa, made way back across the Atlantic Ocean and spread throughout North and Latin America becoming one of the most popular meals on the planet.
So, what do you do when you want to get a taste of this amazing veggie but simply don’t have the luxury of spending too much time in the kitchen? Well, you resort to one of the most convenient and easy to use appliances on the planet.
Today, we are going to take a look at some of the most popular ways to prepare sweet potatoes in your microwave.
The nutritional value of sweet potato
But before we proceed let’s see what exactly potatoes hide under their skin – it can come in handy when planning the diet.
Aside from being a fast grower, sweet potato is blessed with a lot of beneficial nutrients. Roughly speaking, 200 grams of baked sweet potatoes contain:
- 180 calories
- 41.4 grams of carbs
- 4 grams of protein
- 0.3 grams of fat
- 6.6 grams
Furthermore, sweet potato packs high amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Manganese, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Pantothenic acid, Copper and Niacin.
And if that’s not enough, you will be glad to know that some varieties of the plant (namely orange and purple) are very rich in antioxidants that keep free radicals out of your body. It’s really no wonder Matt Damon managed to live so long on Mars being able to grow only this type of food.
The benefits of sweet potato
Having such a generous amounts of healthy nutrients, it’s really no wonder the vegetable offers some extraordinary health benefits. We’ll count only some of the most important ones:
- Probable cancer-fighting properties – According to recent research by the University of Washington, the sweet potato contains a very unique type of protein that suppresses the growth of leukemia cells and has potential anticancer properties.
- Sweet potato promotes gut health – The nutrients that present in purple sweet potatoes promote the growth of healthy bacteria that prevent various gut-related problems.
- Sweet potatoes don’t cause blood sugar spikes – Sweet potatoes feature a very high amount of fibers, which makes them very slow burners. That, in turn, means they can’t cause any blood sugar or insulin level spikes.
- Sweet potatoes have a hand in the regulation of blood pressure – One cup of baked potatoes is able to provide as much as 950 milligrams of potassium (twice as much as a banana). Potassium is incredibly important because helps the regulation of heart rhythm and reduces the blood pressure.
- Sweet potatoes have anti-inflammatory effects – Sweet potatoes are stacked with Vitamins A and C which are both known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Which type of sweet potato should you buy?
So, keeping all this in mind, the real question is not “should you consume more sweet potatoes” but rather “which type should you buy.” As we’ve seen by now, there are more than several varieties you can currently find in shops, the most popular options being:
- Hannah sweet potatoes – Featuring creamy white color and smooth creamy white skin Hannah is sweet and remains very firm, even when cooked.
- Japanese sweet potatoes – Japanese is probably the most rounded variety in the world of sweet potatoes. It tastes very sweet and its flesh is fairly firm. This type also features a very high amount of potassium.
- Jewel sweet potatoes – The skin color of Jewel potatoes is orange/copper, their taste mildly sweet and flesh deeply orange and firm. They also contains high levels of Vitamin A.
- Stokes Purple sweet potatoes – Both skin and flesh of this variety are deep purple, so they easily stand out amongst their cousins. They are pretty dry, not that sweet and feature a lot of beneficial antioxidants.
- Garnet sweet potatoes – Garnet sweet potatoes fall more on the orange side both outside and inside. They are very moist, but not that sweet. Much like Jewels, they pack high amounts of Vitamin A.
Which one of these types you are going to use largely depends on you, your taste and your culinary preferences.
Generally speaking, purple potatoes like Stokes Purple are considered the healthiest, but they are not so widely available. If health benefits are your primary concern, any type of orange sweet potato should be your second best option.
How to microwave sweet potatoes
This is one of the simplest ways of preparing any meal in history. So, the steps you are going to go through are:
- Clean every potato with running water and dry them out with a paper towel.
- Pierce all of the potatoes with a fork five to six times. This will help you to separate the skin once the meal is prepared.
- Wrap each potato in a paper towel or aluminum foil, place them on a microwave-safe plate and then put the whole package into the microwave.
- Turn the dial to 5-10 minutes and wait. More potatoes will take more time to be cooked, and you will need to rotate them halfway through.
- Check if the potatoes are properly cooked by piercing them with a fork. If the fork spears into them easily, the potatoes are ready to be served. The ones that are still firm will probably need an additional microwaving in one-minute increments with fork checks in between. It really depends on the potato type. The harder ones are slower to cook.
- Peel the skin off the potatoes and they will be ready for serving.
If you want to experiment a bit, you can make a couple of small cuts in the potatoes and fill them with cheese, bacon and/or any other ingredient that suits your culinary sensibilities before wrapping them up for cooking.
How to microwave mashed sweet potatoes
If you want to go an extra mile you can use the cooked potatoes, and turn them into tasty mashed potatoes. To do this, you will need the following ingredients:
- Unsalted butter
- Freshly ground black pepper
As for the very recipe:
- Follow the instructions from the recipe we gave you above.
- Give the freshly cooked potatoes a couple of minutes to cool off on the counter before cutting them into small pieces.
- Place the potato pieces into a microwave-safe bowl and mash them with a fork.
- Mix milk and butter according to your taste and warm them up in the microwave until the butter has completely melted into the milk.
- If you are not in the mood to experiment with doses, 5 averagely sized potatoes (the ones that can fit into your palm) require about 3/4 cups of milk and 4 tablespoons of butter for a soft and well-balanced mix.
- Add the milk to the hot potatoes and mash them together. If you are using an electric mixer, dial the speed down a bit so you don’t over-mix the pieces. As you go along, add more milk or butter to create a more consistent blend. Also, this is the moment when you are going to mix in salt, pepper and other spices you may have intended to use (cinnamon makes a surprisingly good addition).
- Whisk the blend until it becomes very smooth (you don’t want to have remaining potato pieces once over) and your meal will be prepared.
How to microwave sweet potato chips
Finally, here is the second variation you can make on the cooked sweet potatoes you’ve got at the end of the first recipe. Once you go through all the mentioned steps, you will need to do the following:
- Cut the piece of paper in the shape of the microwave-safe plate and lightly coat the parchment with a cooking spray.
- Cut the potatoes into very thin slices. If you can, use adjustable blade slicer.
- Arrange the slices of potato on the paper and season them in salt and pepper (you can also try out chilly).
- Microwave the slices for the next 4 to 5 minutes while checking their crispness every 30 seconds. You can use these intervals for additional seasoning.
- Once the slices become crisp and crunchy, the chips will become ready for serving.
So these were some of the main reasons you should make sweet potatoes an important part of your diet, and three ways to prepare them with your microwave. And what a match made in Heaven they are.
On the one hand, you have a veggie that is easy to grow, even easier to prepare and packs a long list of healthy nutrients. On the other, you have the appliance that makes cooking simple even for the beginners.
We don’t know about you, but this potential needs to be explored.