Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving Recipe # 6 from the Sage Hill Table~

Baked Sweet Potatoes or Yams~

Yam or sweet potato ? Many people use these terms interchangeably both in conversation and in cooking, but they are totally two different vegetables.

Sweet Potatoes:

Popular in the American South, there are two types of "sweet potato." The paler-skinned sweet potato has a thin, light yellow skin with pale yellow flesh which is not sweet and has a dry, crumbly texture similar to a white baking potato.
The darker-skinned variety (which is most often called "yam" in error) has a thicker, dark orange to reddish skin with a vivid orange, sweet flesh and a moist texture. ( very good )

A few popular varieties include Goldrush, Georgia Red, Puerto Rico, New Jersey, and Centennial. ( Georgia Red being our favorite. )


The true yam is the tuber of a tropical vine (Dioscorea batatas) and is not even distantly related to the sweet potato. These are very popular in New Orleans.
( New Orleans is a very tropical climate)

The yam is a popular vegetable in Latin American and Caribbean markets.

Generally sweeter than than the sweet potato, this tuber can grow over seven feet in length.

The word yam comes from African words njam, nyami, or djambi, meaning "to eat," and was first recorded in America in 1676.

The yam tuber has a brown or black skin which resembles the bark of a tree and off-white, purple or red flesh, depending on the variety. They are at home growing in tropical climates, primarily in South America, Africa, and the Caribbean.

Yams contain more natural sugar than sweet potatoes and have a higher moisture content. They are also marketed by their Spanish names, boniato and ñame.

( Before Katrina I had a friend who would send us a crate of yams every year )
Both are missed.

I bake Sweet Potatoes just the way my mother baked them...and my grand-mother.

Tip) Do not wrap the potatoes, this will steam them instead of baking them.

As many as you will need-fat and plump
Scrub with a vegetable brush and allow to dry

Pre-heat oven to 400*

Take a small amount of cooking shortening and rub each potato well
With a sharp knife cut a small slit in the top of each potato-just enough to allow the steam to escape.

Line a large cookie sheet with brown paper ( can use baking foil )

Arrange potatoes on baking sheet and bake at 400 for 20 minutes
Lower the temp to 375 and continue baking until soft to the touch when slightly squeezed. ( large potatoes will need 45 to 60 minutes of baking in a conventional oven.

When done, remove from oven and fill the slotted potato with a small amount of real butter and a drizzle of Mint infused honey if desired. ( the skins are very edible and contain a large amount of nutrients.)

Mint Infused Honey

1 cup of your favorite honey

Place in a small sauce pan with a few mint leaves ( I like Lemon Balm )
Heat until really hot without boiling

Let stand about 20 minutes and reheat, the mint will infuse during that time.

This is also delicious served on Patty Pan squash.

Yummy...I can taste it now~

Bea Kunz

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Thanks for that information I had no idea that Yams were completely different than sweet potatoes. Coming from the north and being a city girl will do that to ya.