9/24/18

Tender Profile | Sweet Potatoes

Burnt Rock Farm Sweet Potatoes

Burnt Rock Farm Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Botanical name/plant family: Zipomoea batatas

 Important practices: While sweet potatoes are typically grown with less pesticides overall than other potatoes and other produce, we always recommend choosing organic whenever possible!

Harvest season: I hate the cold, so I'm ready to eat in the fall before the frost hits.

Great source of: Vitamin A, calcium, Vitamin C, and several B vitamins. I also have tons of fiber and antioxidants, and have less of an effect on blood sugar than white potatoes.

Storage methods: Keep me in a cool, dark and dry place, and I'm good for at least a week. Make sure not to store me near onions, as they release gasses that make me more likely to sprout.

Cooking methods: I can be baked, mashed, roasted, or boiled. Cut me into cubes and roast in the oven, then add me on top of salads or as a side dish. Replace white potatoes with me in breakfast hashes, stews, casseroles, or mashed potatoes. I'm great in chili, too! You can even slice me into thin pieces, put me in the toaster, then top me with nut butter and banana or avocado and egg. I'm also great in sweet dishes, such as baked and topped with yogurt, or in pies or pancakes.

World cuisines: Sweet potatoes are popular in African cuisines and are a staple food in the Pacific Islands. Japanese sweet potatoes, which are purple on the outside with a white flesh, are used in a variety of dishes throughout Asia.

Pairings: I pair nicely with corn, black beans, red onions, chili powder and tomatoes in southwestern-style dishes. Or try me with other root vegetables, garlic, and rosemary. I'm also delicious as a dessert with maple, cinnamon, and nuts!

 

Fun Facts:

  • Although I'm sometimes mistaken for a yam, I'm actually part of a completely different plant family.

  • My juice is combined with lime juice to make clothing dye in South America..

  • I'm the official state vegetable of North Carolina.

Tender Profile | Winter Squash

Burnt Rock Farm Acorn Squash

Burnt Rock Farm Acorn Squash

Winter Squash

Botanical name/plant family: Cucurbita

Important practices: Look at my stem- make sure it's tan and dry, otherwise I was harvested too early! My skin should be tough and matte if I'm ripe, not shiny. When conventionally grown, I have the propensity to absorb insecticides from the soil — so choose organic whenever possible!.

Harvest season: Despite my misleading name, I'm typically harvested in the fall.

Great source of: Fiber, potassium and vitamins A, C, and B6. I'm also low in calories, fat and carbohydrates.

Storage methods: My tough exterior keeps it fresh without refrigeration for at least a month. Store me in a cool, dark place if I'm ripe, or out in the warm sun if I need to ripen a bit more.

Cooking methods: I can be baked, boiled. steamed, mashed, added to stews, salads or casseroles. You can even incorporate me into desserts. My skin typically isn't edible, but piercing me with a fork and microwaving me for a few minutes helps make peeling a breeze! When you scoop out my seeds, save them for roasting. I come in so many varieties that there's plenty you can do with me:

  • Acorn- I'm round and full of seeds, so once you scoop them out, I make the perfect edible bowl! After halving, removing the seeds and baking, stuff me with meat, rice, kale, and cheese.

  • Butternut- My natural creaminess makes me perfect for soup, casseroles, risottos and even macaroni and cheese with some local VT cheddar.

  • Honeynut- I'm butternut's smaller, easier to work with cousin - the perfect serving size for making stuffed squash! You can replace butternut with honeynut in any recipe, just keep in mind that I'm sweeter.

  • Delicata- Unlike other varieties, my skin in soft enough to be eaten. Try slicing me into circles roasting me with cinnamon and a bit of pure maple syrup to bring out my natural sweetness.

  • Red Kuri or Sunshine Kabocha- My skin is also edible once cooked, so you can substitute me for delicata. I have a rich, flavorful texture and a dark orange color. I also make a great pie or muffin.

World cuisines: Different varieties can be found around the world. Calabaza is popular in the Carribean, while kambocha is native to Japan. 

Pairings: I go great with any flavors reminiscent of fall and Thanksgiving. Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and foods such as cranberries, kale, and walnuts complement me perfectly.

 

Fun Fact:

  • Winter squash became an important food for the first American settlers, so much so that it was eaten at the first Thanksgiving!

  • Squash has been depicted in Native American artwork dating back over 2,000 years!

  • In Mexico, some varieties are used by herbalists to regulate blood sugar levels.