The rise of the sweet potato as a healthy icon is well known. Lower in resistant starch, high in beta-carotenes, vitamin A and dietary fibre, these bad boys will fill you up quicker, satisfy any sweet cravings and bring a whole host of nutritional benefits to your diet. Sweet potatoes carry with them anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, even anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and help to regulate blood sugar levels in spite of their sweetness.
The sweet potato and potato are, in fact, botanically barely related. Though they both originated in Central and South America, potatoes are from the Nightshade family, along with tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and deadly nightshade, the evil step-mother of the family. (In fact not many people know that potatoes themselves are poisonous when they turn green).
But in contrast, sweet potatoes are part of the Bindweed family, and their leaves are both delicious and nutritious. Both families are, however, prolific, with over 4,000 varieties of potato and 5,000 of sweet potato, their flesh in beautiful colours ranging from white to orange to purple. Our mushy, orange ones are just the tip of the iceberg - but fear not we’re in a strong spud position. The paler sweet potatoes are much lower in vitamins. In fact, a group of African plant scientists have bred a fortified sweet potato – starchier like the pale ones to appeal to African tastes, but higher in beta-carotene, and orange like ours, to try and combat high rates of child malnutrition and blindness in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Having spent a long time perfecting the perfect, crispy, baked sweet potato chip, we can share our intel with you! The trick is to toss them in corn flour before cooking as it draws the sugar out. And then polenta too. Do not over crowd the roasting tin – none of them should touch. Not so easy when you’re catering for 200 people! Lastly, leave them in the oven with the door open so they crisp up even further. Just don’t cook them too high as the sugar content makes them burn easily. This is an amazing alternative to regular fries - especially for kids!