Brenda Hagedorn, Extension Educator
OCTOBER /NOVEMBER 2008
Fall is upon us and at this time of year I begin thinking about foods associated with the holidays. So in this newsletter I’ve included information on a couple of my favorites - pumpkins and sweet potatoes. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!
The sweet potato is ideal fare for the health - conscious food consumer. As a main dish or prepared as a dessert, the sweet potato is a nutritious and economical food. One baked sweet potato (3 1/2 ounce serving) provides over 8,800 IU of vitamin A or about twice the recommended daily allowance, yet it contains only 141 calories making it valuable for the weight watcher. For the most food value, choose sweet potatoes of a deep orange color. When buying sweet potatoes, select sound, firm roots. Storage in a dry, unrefrigerated bin kept at 55-60 degrees F. is best. DO NOT REFIGERATE, because temperatures below 55 degrees F. will chill this tropical vegetable giving it a hard core and an undesirable taste when cooked. Most sweet potato dishes freeze well. Save time and energy by making a sweet potato dish to serve and one to store in the freezer.
SWEET POTATOES Helpful Hints
Sweet Potatoes Recipes
Baked Sweet Potatoes: Rub a little fat or oil over clean and dry sweet potatoes of uniform size. Place on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F. until soft, 30 to 50 minutes, depending on size. Sweet potatoes that are greased before baking peel easily. Boiled Sweet Potatoes: Drop clean sweet potatoes into enough boiling water to cover them. Cover pan and return water to boiling as quickly as possible. Lower heat and cook until tender. Drain at once. Peel and season with butter and salt to taste. Deep Fat French Fried Sweet Potatoes: Pare and cut into length-wise strips, about 1/2 inch thick. Heat oil in fryer to 365 degrees F. Keep fry basket in fat as it heats. Raise basket and add enough sweet potato strips to cover bottom of basket. Lower basket slowly into hot fat. If fat bubbles much, lift and lower basket until bubbling subsides. Fry until sweet potato strips are brown and tender. Remove from hot oil and drain onto paper towels. Sprinkle with salt, if desired. Spread sweet potatoes on baking sheet and place in a warm oven while others are being cooked. Charcoal Broiled Sweet Potatoes: Rub a little fat over clean sweet potato skins. Wrap double foil loosely around sweet potatoes. Cook in coals for about 45 minutes. Keep warm on edge of grill. Skillet Sweet Potatoes: In large deep skillet, heat l 1/2 inch deep vegetable oil to 365 degrees F. Add sweet potato strips to cover bottom of skillet; fry 5 minutes or until brown and tender. Remove from hot oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt or powdered sugar. Microwave Sweet Potatoes: For best results, choose uniform size sweet potatoes. Pierce washed sweet potatoes with fork. Place on paper towel on shelf of microwave oven 1 inch apart. Turn sweet potatoes over and rearrange after half of cooking time. Cook on HIGH power level. Cooking time will vary, depending on the number of sweet potatoes.
Canned or frozen sweet potatoes may be substituted for the fresh form in any recipe calling for cooked sweet potatoes. Six to eight canned sweet potatoes are approximately the equivalent of four medium fresh sweet potatoes. To reduce calories in your favorite sweet potato recipe, experiment with the recipe by reducing the sugar or fat by using the next lower measure on the measuring cup. For example, when a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar or fat, reduce the amount to 3/4 cup. For 3/4 cup, reduce it to 2/3 cup, and so on. Sweet potatoes make an attractive house plant. To grow a sweet potato vine, use a jar with an opening that will support it. Place the sweet potato in a jar of water with its narrow end down. Put the jar in a warm, dark place and keep the jar filled with water. New roots will start to grow, and in about 10 days, the stem will start to grow. As soon as this happens, put the jar in a sunny window. As the vine grows, it can be left to trail or trained to climb.
Extension Homemakers Lesson
This year the Extension Homemakers are offering a “Snacking Smart” lesson. There is a lesson plan, evaluation and handouts, plus a “Snacking Smart” brochure. Please contact the Extension office for details.
More Recipes for the Season
SWEET POTATO BUTTER 2 Garlic cloves Freshly ground Pepper to taste 2 Sweet Potatoes Fine Sea Salt to taste 2 medium Carrots 2 Tablespoons chopped Parsley 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Vegetable Broth 2 Tablespoons chopped Cilantro (Optional) 1 Tablespoons extra-virgin Olive Oil Put unpeeled garlic cloves on aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees F. in oven or toaster oven for about 10 minutes, until soft. Microwave or boil unpeeled potatoes until done. Peel carrots, cut into large chunks and microwave or boil until soft. Drain carrots, peel potatoes and both in a food processor. Squeeze in the bake garlic. Add 1/2 cup broth and blend. With motor running, add oil and keep blending, adding more broth until puree is fairly smooth and full. Add salt and pepper to taste. Dip can be made as long as a day in advance, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature for serving and stir in the optional herbs right before serving with raw vegetables and bread sticks. Makes 6 servings. SWEET POTATO PECAN PIE 1 (9-inch) unbaked pastry shell 1 pound (2 medium) sweet potatoes, cooked and peeled 1/4 cup margarine or butter 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, (NOT evaporated milk) 1 teaspoon grated orange rind 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 eggs Pecan Topping Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large mixer bowl, beat hot sweet potatoes with margarine until smooth. Add remaining ingredients except pastry shell and
Pecan topping; mix well. Pour into pastry shell. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven; spoon Pecan Topping evenly over top. Bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool. Serve warm or chilled. Refrigerate leftovers. Pecan Topping: In small mixer bowl, combine 1 egg, 3 tablespoons dark corn syrup, 3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon margarine or butter, melted, and 1 teaspoon maple flavoring; mix well. Stir in 1 cup chopped pecans.
CRUNCHY PUMPKIN PIE For the pie crust: 1 C quick cooking oats 1/4 C whole wheat flour 1/4 C ground almonds 2 Tbsp brown sugar 1/4 tsp salt 3 Tbsp vegetable oil 1 Tbsp water For the pie filling: 1/4 C packed brown sugar 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 1/4 tsp salt 1 egg, beaten 4 tsp vanilla 1 C canned pumpkin 2/3 C evaporated skim milk Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix oats, flour, almonds, sugar, and salt together in small mixing bowl. Blend oil and water together in measuring cup with fork or small wire whisk until emulsified. Add oil mixture to dry ingredients and mix well. If needed, add small amount of water to hold mixture together. Press into 9-inch pie pan and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until light brown. Turn down oven to 350 degrees F. Mix sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in bowl . Add eggs and vanilla and mix to blend ingredients. Add pumpkin and milk and stir to combine. Pour into prepared pie shells. Baked 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. or until knife inserted comes out clean.
Source: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/other/syah/ crpumpie.htm
Demand for pumpkins grows, uses vary among consumers
Written Thursday, October 18, 2007 How many kids fit inside a 907 lb. pumpkin? According to the Indiana Pumpkin Growers Association (IPGA) that number is eight. But pumpkins aren't just for kids—they come in all shapes, colors and sizes and can be used for a wide variety purposes, said one Purdue University expert. "By far, the most popular use of pumpkins is jack-o-lanterns, but more and more frequently we're seeing people use them as part of fall displays and as decoration inside their homes or workplaces," said Dan Egel, Purdue plant pathologist. "Some businesses even decorate with them to draw in customers with the festive spirit." No matter what the intended purpose is, consumers can find the fruit in a number of varieties to suit their tastes and needs. "Pumpkins come in a variety of colors, including green, a bluish shade, yellow, white and several shades of orange—some are ribbed, while others are smooth," Egel said. "They also come in a very wide variety of sizes—anywhere from less than a pound to more than 1,000 lbs." While decorating with pumpkin varieties may be one of the most popular uses, the fruit also has many other purposes.
"In addition to decorating, pumpkins also are used for pie, bread, muffins, pudding, custards, soup, stuffing and roasted seeds," Egel said. There are three common varieties of pumpkins— field, sugar and cheese. Field pumpkins are those most commonly found at supermarkets that are a variety of shapes and sizes and are well suited for carving, while sugar pumpkins are smaller, bright orange pumpkins that taste sweeter and are most-often used for cooking. Cheese pumpkins are generally more flat on top and bottom, and often resemble a wheel of cheese. This variety is best for decorating, but not carving. When looking to find that perfect pumpkin, no matter its intended use, Egel said there is no real science. "In picking the perfect pumpkin, there are no tricks like knocking or tapping and listening to the sound," he said. "Consumers should look for pumpkins without mold or soft, mushy spots and a green stem that is not shriveled. Beyond that, it's just personal preference and eye appeal." Each year more than a billion pounds of pumpkins are produced in the United States, and in Indiana, the fruit covers more than 4,242 acres annually—a number that is steadily increasing to meet rising demands. "We've really seen an increase in the demand for pumpkins over the last several years," Egel said. "People love pumpkins because pumpkins get them in the mood for fall and all of the festivities."
Source: AG Answers, An Ohio State Extension and Purdue Extension Partnership, October 2007.