Do you know who we're going to talk about today? Sweet potato! Yes, she, the great muse of the fitness world.
In addition to talking about its thousand and one properties, we will explain step by step how to cook sweet potatoes properly, whether in the microwave, pressure cooker or steam.
Ready to surrender once and for all to this beauty?
Sweet potato benefits
Sweet potatoes are well known for their complex carbohydrates that aid in energy gain and weight loss, especially for those who practice physical activity. But the benefits of sweet potatoes don't stop there.
This root, which can have both a purple and a white bark, is also very beneficial for those suffering from diabetes.
Even though sweet, sweet potatoes help to balance insulin spikes in the body, thanks to its complex carbohydrates that are digested more slowly by the body and, with this, their transformation into sugar happens gradually without overloading the body.
And of course this also ends up interfering with weight loss, that is, the sweet potato is perfect for those who want to lose weight, replacing with praise foods based on white flour, such as breads, cookies and cakes.
Only that? No! As if that were not enough, sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that helps in eye health and in combating skin aging, increasing collagen production.
But to guarantee this rejuvenating effect, sweet potatoes need to be consumed with the peel, where most beta carotenes are found.
Want more? Sweet potatoes protect heart health. That's because the root is rich in potassium, a super important mineral that helps regulate blood pressure, eliminating excess sodium from the body. The fibers present in sweet potatoes also help control cholesterol.
Vitamin B6 found in sweet potatoes is another ally in the health of the cardiovascular system, preventing problems such as stroke, heart attack and coronary heart disease.
Sweet potatoes are still a source of magnesium, vitamin C, calcium and phosphorus.
How to consume sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a very versatile food and can be used in the preparation of different dishes, both sweet and savory.
In savory dishes, sweet potatoes are very good substitutes for traditional English potatoes, that is, you can prepare sweet potatoes as mashed with meats of all kinds.
It is also possible to prepare the root as a base for creams, broths and soups, ensuring texture and velvety appearance to the dishes.
Another very tasty way to eat sweet potatoes is roasted. Just cut the root into slices, season with the herbs of your choice and bake.
Following the same line, you can take advantage of the barbecue grill to make grilled and smoked sweet potatoes. But remember to wrap it in foil.
In sweet preparations, sweet potatoes yield great fillings for pies, just prepare it as a puree.
For those who follow a vegan or lactose-restricted diet, sweet potatoes can be used as a base for sweets, replacing condensed milk, for example. The idea is simple: make a firm puree with the root and then add powdered chocolate, a little sugar and coconut milk.
And finally, but no less tasty, comes the cooked sweet potato eaten pure. This, in fact, is the most practical way to add the root on a daily basis.
Cooked sweet potatoes are great for breakfast, replacing bread rolls, for example.
You can cook a good portion of the root, store it in the refrigerator and eat it throughout the week.
How to cook sweet potatoes
You already know that sweet potatoes are super nutritious and can be used for a huge variety of culinary preparations.
There is only one detail: you need to know how to cook the sweet potato so as not to lose nutrients and get the recipe right.
Therefore, we have introduced different ways to cook sweet potatoes, in addition to the pros and cons of each method. We will see?
In the common pot
The process of cooking sweet potatoes in a common pan is very simple and practical. You just need to wash the potatoes thoroughly if you want to cook with the peel.
Then place the potatoes in the pot in the boiling water. Count about 15 to 20 minutes and prick them with a fork. If they are already tender, you can turn off the heat, drain and make your favorite preparation.
Pros: it is easy, practical and relatively fast.
Cons: this is one of the methods in which most nutrients are lost, especially vitamin C and the B complex vitamins that cannot resist high temperatures and are water-soluble, that is, they dissolve in water.
In the pressure cooker
Cooking sweet potatoes in the pressure cooker is the best option for those who want speed and convenience. In less than ten minutes they are already cooked and soft.
For this method of cooking, you must first wash the potatoes thoroughly, put them in the pressure cooker with enough water to cover.
Close the pan and when you start to get pressure, count about 5 to 7 minutes and turn off the heat. Wait for the pressure to come out completely, then open the pan and check that the potatoes are already tender.
Pros: super fast and practical
Cons: just like cooking in the common pot, the sweet potato in the pressure cooker also suffers from the loss of nutrients, since it was immersed in water.
Steam is the most suitable method for those who want to keep nutrients in food, since it does not come into direct contact with water.
Steaming sweet potatoes is also very simple. Start by washing the skin well and cutting the potatoes into two or three pieces, depending on the size of the root.
Then place the potatoes on the steaming basket and count between 15 to 20 minutes. At the end of that time, stick in the potatoes to see if they are already cooked and tender.
Pros: Steam cooking is the one that most preserves sweet potato nutrients, in addition to leaving it with a more refined and natural flavor.
Cons: cooking is slower than when compared to pressure, for example.
In the microwave
Cooking sweet potatoes in the microwave is also perfect for those busy days where you want convenience.
To do this, simply place the peeled sweet potatoes (well washed) on a microwave-safe dish. Do not cover.
Mega important tip: make holes in the whole potato skin with the help of a fork. These holes will help to release the steam inside the root and prevent it from exploding (literally) inside your microwave.
Turn the device on at medium power for 8 minutes. In the meantime, pause the process, open the microwave and turn the potatoes over so they can cook evenly.
At the end of the time see if they are already soft. Otherwise, put them back on for another two minutes.
Pros: it is practical, fast and almost does not dirty dishes.
Cons: Sweet potatoes lose flavor. This is because the microwave does not cook food uniformly and still dehydrates them, causing them to lose color and texture.
In the oven
One of the preferred preparations for those who want to extract the maximum flavor from the sweet potato is the oven.
The process is very simple: clean the sweet potatoes, cut them into slices or fillets and season with salt, pepper, garlic and herbs of your choice.
Place them side by side on a baking sheet smeared with oil. Cover with foil and bake at medium temperature for about 45 minutes. At the end, prick them with a fork to see if they are already soft.
Pros: preserves the flavor
Cons: is the most time-consuming method of all, and they can get dry if you don't grease them properly.
Extra tips for cooking sweet potatoes
- Avoid removing the peel, it helps in cooking and is still very nutritious.
- The fewer cuts you make to the potato, the less nutrients it loses. Try to cut it at most into two or three pieces.
- Cut the potato only at the time you are going to cook it, so it does not oxidize.
- Avoid the consumption of sweet potato chips, as this method retains oil and makes the food more caloric. Not to mention that hot oil also contributes to the loss of nutrients.
There, now there's no excuse! Go and cook your sweet potato.