Seasonal sweet potato recipes

Oct 13, 2008 at 7:10 a.m. ET

Though sweet potatoes, also known as yams, come into season in November and December, they are available year-round. They are a traditional Thanksgiving and holiday food, but you can enjoy their super-nutrition anytime. Here are three sweet recipes to try this holiday season.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potato basics

Sweet potatoes have yellow or orange flesh with a white, yellow, orange or red skin.

These root vegetables are generally in season for the months of November and December but can found year-round in the markets.

Sweet potatoes can be used in all types of dishes from soups to sides and even desserts.

Nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes: The hardy sweet tubers deliver many nutritional benefits. They are high in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and B6 as well as minerals manganese, copper, potassium and iron.

Because of their high antioxidant content, sweet potatoes have been found to help eliminate free radicals in the body, reducing the risk of inflammatory diseases, and lowering the risk of heart disease.

Selecting sweet potatoes: When choosing sweet potatoes, look for medium-sized potatoes that are firm and don't have any cracks or bruises.

Storing sweet potatoes: Storing your potatoes correctly can make them last for up to 10 days. Ideally you should keep them in a cool, dark place that is well ventilated — be sure to take them out of the plastic bag from the grocery store. A pantry or kitchen cupboard works quite well.

Preparing sweet potatoes: Be sure to scrub the skin of the sweet potatoes very well to remove dirt or other residue. Although a lot of the nutrients are found in the skin, you may want to peel them, if they are not organic.

Sweet potatoes are ultra-versatile and can be roasted, baked, steamed, blanched, boiled, pureed, or fried and transformed into a delectable array of dishes. Try some of these delicious fall favorites then create some sweet potato recipes of your own.

Sweet potato recipes

Sweet Potato Bisque

Makes 8 servings

1 onion, minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or oil
4 cups cooked sweet potatoes (peeled)
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon ground rosemary
Juice from one-quarter of an orange
1 teaspoon orange zest, minced
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste
Creme fraiche
Minced chives

1. In a stockpot over medium-high heat, saute onion in butter or oil until soft. Mix in potatoes, broth, milk, and rosemary. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes.

2. Stir in orange juice and zest. Pour mixture into a blender or food processor and puree. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm garnished with a dollop of creme fraiche and minced chives.

Fried Sweet Potatoes

Makes 4 servings

Oil for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch each of salt, sugar, turmeric
3 small sweet potatoes, thinly sliced

Heat 1-inch of oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high until hot. Combine flour, salt, sugar and turmeric in a bowl. Dip potato slices in batter, shaking off excess, and place in hot oil. Fry until golden — do not overcrowd skillet. Drain fried slices on paper towels. Serve warm.

Sweet Potato Banana Bake

Serves 8

4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, baked until fork tender
2 ripe but firm bananas, peeled, sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 cup miniature marshmallows

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and lay them open, cut side up, in an 11x7-inch baking dish (remove skin, if desired).

2. Sprinkle sliced bananas on sweet potatoes. In a bowl, mix together brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Add melted butter and stir to combine. Pour butter mixture evenly over sweet potatoes and bananas.

3. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through. Remove dish from oven. Turn on broiler. Remove foil and evenly sprinkle marshmallows on top of sweet potato mixture.

4. Broil until marshmallows are lightly toasted and puffed. Serve warm.

More sweet potato recipes

Sweet potato nutrition
Sweet Potato Souffle and Candied Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potato Soup