Farm to School has ended too soon! But we hope to bring the fun right to you, at home. Each week I’ll post a blog including a lesson and a hands-on recipe. It’s hard to be in one place all the time like we have to be right now. We don’t have a daily agenda, or a teacher to guide us through lessons and projects… Without school, it can feel like you have a lot more time in your day, but remember that this time is full of opportunity! Let your curiosity pull you to explore your questions and interests, create forts and art and food, and make time to learn new things!
This week our food focus is sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are my favorite food. I love them any way they are cooked. Today we’ll share a really yummy recipe for sweet potatoes with you.
Sweet potatoes are a great food for storing. You can buy a lot of them at once, keep them somewhere dry, dark, and cool, and they will be good to eat for a long time. Why do you think sweet potatoes are happy in cool, dark places? Where do they grow?
Sweet potatoes have a lot of one particular vitamin…because of its orange color can you guess what it is? …… It’s Vitamin A! You know vitamin A is very good for your eyes. It is also a powerful antioxidant, meaning it helps protect your body from toxins and is, therefore, a great companion to your immune system, which keeps us healthy!
Cooking Sweet Potatoes
Pick up your sweet potato and give it a squeeze… what do you notice? Do you think this food cooks very quickly? Sweet potatoes are very hard because they are full of densely packed complex sugars or starch. Potatoes are root vegetables so…What is the sweet potato’s job for its plant body? The root’s job is to store food for the plant, and give it to the plant when it needs it to grow! So this food will give us what we need to grow too!
If we took a big bite out of our sweet potato without cooking it, do you think it’d be very yummy? … probably not, right? Cooking our potato helps break down those really tightly packed sugars, so we can taste their sweetness as soon as we bite into the potato! If we ate a raw potato, most of the sugars actually wouldn’t be useful to our bodies.
There are a few ways to cook a potato to make it delicious and energy giving.
- We could boil the potato in a pot of water on the stove for about 30 minutes
- We could roast the potato in the oven on a baking sheet for about 45-60 minutes
- We could saute the potato on a skillet on the stove for about 20 minutes
Each of these methods of cooking a sweet potato requires us to prepare the vegetable differently. If we chose to boil it, we’d only have to chop it in half, or quarters (4 pieces). If we chose to roast the potato in the oven, we could leave it whole, or cut it up into bite-sized, or fry sized pieces. And if we chose to saute the potato, we’d probably want to shred the potato into tiny strips, so it cooked quickly and all the way through.
For our recipe today we will roast the potato whole in the oven. Roasting it will make it nice and soft all the way through. Here is the recipe:
Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 2½ sweet potatoes
- ⅓ cup of pure maple syrup
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp of salt
- Preheat oven to 400℉.
- While the oven is heating up, prepare your sweet potatoes by cutting them into cubes or fries. Start by cutting the sweet potato in half, creating two flat sides of the potato, like this!
Then put the flat side down on the cutting board and cut down the center, then continue to cut fry shaped pieces out of it, they could look like this in the end!
- Lay fries out on a baking sheet evenly, and pour the olive oil, maple syrup, lemon juice over them. Move the fries around with your fingers to make sure each of them is coated. Sprinkle salt over top.
- Cook for 40 minutes or until browned.
- Remove from the oven and allow potatoes to cool. Enjoy!