THE DISH ON EATING LOCAL SWEET POTATOES
3 ways you can enjoy discovering local sweet potatoes in your area!
1. Find Sweet Potatoes at your Local Market
Not only is eating local sweet potatoes good for you, but purchasing local produce also ensures that your money goes back to the family that grew them! According to Local First Arizona Foundation, “The true cost of the food is largely hidden from consumers and subsidized by tax dollars. Our taxes pay for increased healthcare costs due to diet-related diseases, more public assistance programs to aid low-wage workers, and costs associated with environmental degradation. Supporting direct-to-consumer local food businesses means supporting livable wages, more jobs, and more money circulating in the local economy.”
You can find sweet potatoes all across Arizona. Here are some of the local farmers markets where you can find sweet potatoes in your area, and contribute to growing your vibrant community!
2. Eat Sweet Potatoes at your Local Restaurant
Many local restaurants endorse sourcing out some of the best ingredients, but do they use local ingredients? Here is one such restaurant we have discovered that uses local sweet potatoes in this wonderful dish by Chef Renee Kreager called Roasted Sweet Potato & Apple Salad with Quinoa, Cranberries, & Pepitas. Below is the information to find out more on this location and restaurant.
Renee’s Organic Oven in Tucson
Open since 2005 with a foundation to clean, simple and delicious food. They have been able to grow their commitment to local and organic foods over the years with continually support and love from Tucson and Travelers seeking pure food.
7065 E Tanque Verde Rd
Tucson, AZ 85715
To find more local restaurants sourcing local ingredients click here!
Recipes change all the time and viewers should check with all restaurants to find out what’s on the menu currently.
3. Learn a Recipe to Make it Yourself
Want to discover how to make this local sweet potato dish? Watch the video on just how easy it is to bring Farm to your table.
Serving Size: 4
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Chef Renee Kreager's Roasted Sweet Potato & Apple Salad with Quinoa, Cranberries, & Pepitas
We all know Pot Luck is the new way to party; it allows the host to divide the cost of throwing a party and all of the guests to show off our own delight of being creative in the kitchen. As with this Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Apples & Cranberries over Quinoa, Topped Pepitas. It is unique, travels well and can make all guests happy even if they are vegan, vegetarian or gluten free. A nice crisp Vinho verde or a refreshing Moscow mule would pair nicely with this dish.
- 2 cups cooked quinoa, prepared according to package directions (I recommend Ancient Harvest)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon yellow curry powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Put quinoa in mixing bowl.
- Create mixture of coconut oil, yellow curry powder, salt, and ground ginger.
- Incorporate throughout quinoa.
- Set aside in baking pan.
- 4-5 sweet potatoes, washed and skinned, cut into uniform 1 ½-inch cubes
- 3-4 apples, washed and cored, cut into 1 ½-inch cubes (pink ladies work well)
- 3 tablespoons organic coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon yellow curry powder
- Salt and pepper to taste (about ¼ teaspoon of each)
- 1 cup dried cranberries or fresh pomegranate seeds
- 1 cup organic pepitas
- Place sweet potatoes, apples, coconut oil and curry powder in bowl, toss to evenly coat.
- Place in 9x13 roasting or baking pan.
- Roast until sweet potatoes and apples are cooked perfectly (about 15 to 20 minutes).
- Reserve 1 ½ cups of this roasted mix to add at the end.
- Gently fold remainder into baking pan with cooked quinoa.
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Dash of sea salt
- ¾ cup olive oil
- Combine ginger, yellow curry powder, white wine vinegar, honey, and sea salt in bowl, whisk in the olive oil.
- Taste to see if this is the acid balance or sweetness you enjoy.
- Adjust accordingly if needed.
- Pour slowly on the sides of the bowl and move ingredients to evenly cover sweet potato, apple, and quinoa in the pan until it is dressed to your liking, making sure everything is lightly coated.
- Place in serving bowl.
- Add dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds, pepitas, and reserved roasted mix to garnish the top.
NOT JUST ANY FOOD – THEY’RE A SUPERFOOD!
Want to know more about local sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes come from Central and South America where they were domesticated more than 10,000 years ago. Sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory family and are often thought to be the same as yams, but yams are in a completely different botanical family related to grasses and lilies. Unlike potatoes and yams, sweet potatoes aren’t tubers – they are edible roots. Typically, sweet potatoes are orange but they can also be white, yellow, red, pink, or purple. The more intense the color, the sweeter the taste. Orange sweet potatoes are the sweetest and contain the most beta-carotene.
Sweet potatoes are a great source for vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, manganese, calcium, potassium, iron, and fiber (especially when eaten with the skin on). They also have a lower glycemic index than potatoes. They are fat-free and cholesterol-free. They can help prevent heart disease and cancer. They’re an anti-inflammatory. Sweet potatoes can strengthen the immune system and can even slow aging by promoting good vision and healthy skin.
Sweet potatoes were a popular crop through America’s history and had a peak during World War II when they were used to make sweet potato flour to bolster the nation’s waning flour supplies. After the war ended, the crop lost favor and bottomed out with its popularity largely found around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays (think ‘sweet potato pie’).
It wasn’t until recent years, with the addition of sweet potatoes in such diets as the South Beach Diet, Paleo Diet, and the Atkins Diet, that the sweet potato gained favor again. People are in love with the fact that they’re so full of fiber and nutrients. Today, the average American eats almost twice the amount of sweet potato that they were eating twenty years ago. They can be boiled, baked, roasted, broiled, grilled, fried, microwaved, eaten raw – you name it. Cooking sweet potatoes with butter or olive oil will actually make them more nutritious as it breaks the beta-carotene down into more vitamin A.
When shopping for sweet potatoes, look for small to medium sweet potatoes with firm, smooth, even-toned skin. These will be the sweetest and creamiest. The deeper the color, the richer it is in beta-carotene. Store sweet potatoes in a cool, dry place for up to two weeks. Any longer than that and their sugar content spoils. If you find a sweet potato with the stem and leaves still attached, you can save those to eat as well.
Buying local sweet potatoes is beneficial to the local economy, good for the environment, and support a healthy lifestyle. When we purchase sweet potatoes from a local market or farmers market, we make an active choice to know exactly where our food is coming from. With all the farmers right here in the state of Arizona, we can be assured that your produce is being taken care of from the seed to the market stand.