NATIONAL COOK A SWEET POTATO DAY
Across the United States, National Cook A Sweet Potato Day on February 22nd celebrates a root vegetable packed with flavor and a bit of history, too. The sweet potato is eaten and loved, each day, by millions of people across the nation.
Either Central America or South America is thought to be the center of origin and domestication of sweet potatoes. In Central America, sweet potatoes were domesticated at least 5,000 years ago. Peruvian sweet potato remnants dating as far back as 8,000 BC have been found in South America.
The sweet potato is an excellent source of vitamin A, which supports good vision, the immune system, and bone growth. Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin B-6, magnesium, and vitamin C. It’s also great for the complexion.
While many Americans confuse the sweet potato with a yam, the two are different. A yam is a starchy tuber while the sweet potato is truly a sweet root vegetable. The sweet potato also comes in a variety of sizes and colors, including pale to bright orange, white, and purple. High in fiber and low in fat and calories, this root vegetable is a healthful alternative to snack foods when prepared without added butter, sugar, or salt.
Unlike other potatoes, sweet potatoes like long, hot growing seasons. This might explain why it is the state vegetable of North Carolina.
When storing your sweet potatoes, keep them in a cool, dry place. However, don’t refrigerate them unless they’re cooked. Refrigeration will give them a bitter taste, ruining their sweet flavor. Cooks find numerous ways to experiment with sweet potatoes, too!
HOW TO OBSERVE #CookASweetPotatoDay
- Cook a sweet potato.
- Make your favorite recipe.
- Invite others to join you for a meal.
- Learn about the benefits of sweet potatoes.
- Read about these 7 Ways to Cook a Sweet Potato for more ideas.
- Use #CookASweetPotatoDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL COOK A SWEET POTATO DAY HISTORY
National Day Calendar continues to research the origins of this sweet potato cooking challenge.
Sweet Potato FAQ
Q. How do I cook a sweet potato?
A. There are several ways to cook a sweet potato. In most cases, you can treat the root vegetable just like a white potato. For example:
- Bake it. Top it with butter, brown sugar or drizzle a little honey on it.
- Cut it into bite-sized pieces, season it and roast it in the oven.
- Make potato fries. You can bake, air fry or deep fry them.
- Mash it with a little butter.
Q. What goes well with sweet potatoes?
A. If you can think of a dish, sweet potatoes probably go well with them. This vegetable is quite versatile.