I’m a big fan of naturally sweet foods because they can satisfy my craving for sugar in a nutritious way. Sweet potatoes are a perfect example of this kind of food and are also very good for your health. They get their pigment from carotenoids, which among other things contain beta-carotene that is beneficial to the health of our eyes. They are also high in vitamin D which is very helpful in the winter months when sunlight may be minimal. As an added bonus their sugars are slow releasing and will not cause a spike in blood sugar.
There are a number of ways sweet potatoes can be prepared. I am particularly fond of the chips and baked goods my friends at Family Farm’s Harvest make. You can find them at the Six Nations Farmers Market when it is open. I am looking forward to indulging in a few of their doughnuts at the next market on March 28.
Sweet potatoes also make great fries that are an easy and healthy substitute to regular potatoes. At a small restaurant in Toronto’s annex neighbourhood where I ran the kitchen, I took great pride in our homemade sweet potato fries. Getting them just right took some trial and error. A few broken fry cutters and some very caramelized fries later I figured it out. Fortunately for home cooks, preparing sweet potatoes in an oven is not as tricky as deep frying them.
Here is how I like to prepare my sweet potato fries at home.
Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries
You may keep the skin on or off. Cut the potatoes in fry shaped pieces that are relatively similar in size. Lightly coat with some sunflower oil, salt and cinnamon.
Preheat oven to 425F. Cook’s choice to line or not to line your baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Preheat your baking sheet for several minutes before putting the potatoes on it. Place potatoes evenly spaced on the baking sheet and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, flip the fries and cook for about 10 minutes more. Remove from oven when they are golden brown, crispy and cooked all the way through. Cook longer if you prefer them darker, just be careful not to burn them.
Preheating the baking sheet will ensure the side you put down is crispy. It will also speed up the cooking time and help the potatoes cook evenly.
You can choose any seasoning you like or none at all.