Baked Yam or Sweet Potato

Sweet potato

Sweet potato

by Cat, Nov 2013 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

While a true yam is not related to the sweet potato (and is generally not found in US markets), the darker orange colored sweet potato is called a yam. And that is the meaning intended here. Both the light-colored, and orange colored sweet potatoes can be prepared the same way; however, the American yam is sweeter.

American yams are rich in beta-carotene (vitamin-A precursor), vitamin C, vitamin B6; and important minerals: manganese and potassium. Like most root veggies, they also have a healthy amount of fiber (in the form of inulin). (21)

White true yams at Brixton Market

The sweet potato (American yam) can be baked much the same as a regular potato, or you can peel and bake them with a bit of butter and water or fruit juice. Both versions are detailed here.

I’ve never tried a true yam, but I understand they are not as sweet as American yams, and they are traditionally boiled. They come in different shapes and colors; the one in the photo, left (from Wikimedia Commons) is a white yam; purple, green and dark brown are also common.

Plain Baked Yams

This recipe is adapted from The Freckled Foodie blog (2).

  1. Line a baking sheet with foil* (optional) and preheat oven to 425° – 450°F.
  2. Pierce through the skin of the yam in several places all around the yam(s) with the tines of a fork (to avoid explosions in the oven), and place them on the foil-lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Using tongs, turn each one over, then bake another 20 – 30 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick.
  4. Remove baking sheet from oven and transfer yams to a cooling rack, scraping off blackened drippings. Let them cool just a bit so you can cut them into serving portions; or, if they are small, leave them whole and cut a slit along the top, to serve.

‘* I don’t like allowing food to touch aluminum foil when heated, because of the heavy metal toxicity of aluminum. So I place a sheet of baking parchment on the baking sheet or on top of the foil; however, when oven temp is above 400°F, the parchment could burn, so keep an eye on it.

Savory Baked Yams

This is my own recipe, and my favorite way to prepare this wonderful, sweet veggie. Highly recommended method if using purple yams, as they provide the most nutrients if they are steamed. You can skip the spices if you wish but in order to steam them, you need to add the liquid; I use either filtered water or fresh apple cider.

I usually peel the yams, but you certainly could skip that and leave the peels on; they do provide additional nutrients, especially antioxidant vitamin A; minerals potassium and manganese, and fiber!

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Butter bottom and lower sides of a casserole dish.
  3. Peel yams and cut crosswise into 2″ thick sections. Arrange sections in casserole dish.
  4. Add enough filtered water, unsweetened cranberry juice, freshly-squeezed orange juice, or fresh apple cider to be about ¼″ deep in the casserole dish. Sprinkle yam pieces with ground coriander, cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg, depending on what savory flavor you want; Unrefined sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper. Dot with more butter.
  5. Adding a lid to the casserole dish allows the yams to cook in steam:
    • Set lid of casserole dish in place;
    • If the casserole dish does not have a lid, fit a piece of parchment or waxed paper over the top of the dish, then aluminum foil to hold the parchment/waxed paper in place.
  6. Bake in preheated oven about 1 hour, until tests fork-tender. OR, If you  want smaller sections of the yams, or a quicker cooking time, cut them crosswise into 1″ thick sections; they should be done in 35 – 45 min, depending on how wide the cut sections are.
  7. Serve as is, or mash them to serve.

References:

  1. Worlds healthiest Foods on sweet potatoes: whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=64
  2. Freckled Foodie blog on baking a sweet potato: thefreckledfoodie.com/how-to-bake-a-perfect-sweet-potato/

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