Few foods can compete with the sweet potato. It’s the “whole package”. The “real deal”. The sweet potato is full of flavor, nutrition and is adaptable to almost any cuisine.
Since 1971, North Carolina has ranked as the No. 1 sweet potato producing state in the U.S, providing more than 50% of the US production of sweet potatoes. North Carolina (my home state, by the way) boasts the perfect moist climate, with rich and fertile soil for cultivating sweet potatoes. But, sweet potatoes are not just grown in the United States. Scientific evidence points to the Central American region as the origin place of the sweet potato.
It’s been said that “sweet potatoes are as American as apple pie!”1 But, even though sweet potatoes are a staple in traditional southern cuisine, their sweetness and mild flavor allow for adaptability for a number of seasonings.
For this reason, this versatile crop is a go-to ingredient for a variety of ethnic cuisines. From Thai to Caribbean to traditional southern, the sweet potato provides something for everyone.
Unlike the much-maligned white potato, the sweet potato has a well-deserved reputation for being nutritious. They are an excellent source of vitamin A and are good source for vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.
History shows that sweet potato roots and leaves also were used medicinally. Sweet potatoes have been used in folk remedies to treat illnesses as diverse as asthma, night blindness, and diarrhea. Some people believe that they bind heavy metals and should be eaten to detoxify the system.
Spiced Hasselback Sweet Potato
With its versatility and nutritional values, the sweet potato comes with a lot of nice bonuses. However, this I know to be true….the sweet potato is good eating! This recipe for Spiced Hasselback Sweet Potato elevates the simple, baked sweet potato to a whole new level. Serve this dish at your next dinner party or cook-out and your guests will think that you worked for hours….only you and I will know the truth. Enjoy!
Spiced Hasselback Sweet Potatoes
These Spiced Hasselback Sweet Potatoes are sweet, salty and achingly tender. Perfect as a side dish and special enough to command attention in the center of the plate.
- 2 large Sweet Potatoes
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon melted Coconut Oil (or you may use Canola or other neutral flavored oil instead)
- 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup (preferably organic)
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg (Freshly grated is best, if you’ve got it)
- 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- Sea Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Wash and thoroughly dry the potatoes.
- Using a sharp knife, carefully cut slices about 1/8 of an inch thick, 2/3 of the way through the potatoes.
- Rub potatoes with 1 tsp. of coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
- Place potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, thoroughly mix all remaining ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste.
- After 30 minutes remove potatoes from oven and pour the above mixture over them, being careful to incorporate the liquid between the slices.
- Return the potatoes to the oven and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes or until fork tender.
- Remove from oven, let cool and ENJOY!