Why cook the sweet potatoes BEFORE peeling?

angelaidNovember 15, 2012

Going to DS's for Thanksgiving. The only thing I am requested to bring is candied sweet potatoes. (I HATE sweet potatoes). All the recipes I've seen say to bake or boil the potatoes first, then remove the skin. Wouldn't it be easier to just peel the potatoes before boiling?

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The skins slip off really easily when cooked.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 4:02PM
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I've done it both ways. If you peel, then bake, the outside will be harder than the inside. To me it's not a big deal.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 4:14PM
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I agree with Cheryl. If baking the potatoes, the edges can get hard but if you steam or boil them, I'd peel them first and normally do. I've also just put them into the microwave, already peeled and cubed, and cooked just until done, but I cover the dish so they don't dry out.

Of course, I love sweet potatoes, so I just bake them and eat them.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 4:22PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

You can always use canned yams....that's what mother always did...just cut, glaze and bake...

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 5:02PM
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What do you not like about sweet potatoes ? I really hate the sloppy gloppy too sweet marshmallowed blop. Dice up and roast red and yellow SPs. Make it less sweet. If they don't like it then at least you will never be asked again.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 5:08PM
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Angelaid - I don't know if you can persuade DS to let you do something different? I loathe SP loaded with sugar and marshmallows. Last year I made the recipe in the link, Fiery Sweet Potatoes. They're not that fiery, just a little spicy, but very tasty with coconut milk and Thai red curry paste.

I served it at two separate dinners over T'giving weekend and all 5lbs of it was devoured! I passed the recipe around, and this year one of last year's guests is making it and bring it to our dinner.


Here is a link that might be useful: recipe - fiery sweet potatoes.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 5:25PM
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I do agree on the gloppy/sugary/marshmallow mess that people serve, I scrape all that "stuff" off my sweet potatoes. I don't like the mashed up sweet casserole with the topping either.

However, everyone else in the family loves the sweet potatoes with the marshmallows so I just make them for the rest of the family and hold out a few for me without the sweet stuff.

It's all a matter of taste, I think, and for my family it's an integral part of the Thanksgiving dinner, which I'm not allowed to change.

This year, though, there will be none of that green bean casserole. I'm making broccoli and cheese and I'm going to blame it on my mother because she LOVES broccoli and cheese and she's coming for dinner. Maybe if I sprinkle it with those fried onions I can get away with it? (grin)

Or make a cheesecake AND pumpkin pie?


    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 6:17PM
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I dont I took to roasting ,I roast the sweet potatoes in oven then peel them,my mother use to cook the life out of potatoes & all I dont.The skin comes right off.Sweeter too.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 6:29PM
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I also hate sweet potatoes (at least the ones I've had so far) - because they are sweet! However, I have recently found some new recipes for butternut squash that are spicy, and I plan to try one of them soon. I've had candy from Puebla called camotes de Santa Clara made from sweet potatoes, and it was okay, but it was candy. It still has an earthy flavor, however. It's easy to find in Los Angeles - perhaps less so in other places.

I would never touch sweet potatoes that had marshmellows melted over them - I dislike marshmellows more than I dislike sweet potatoes.

I think that if you are boiling the potatoes, you could peel them first, but why would they not ask you to bring something that you like?

I do like pumpkin pie, and when I make it, I use fresh ginger instead of dried, and it gives it a very good flavor with a tiny bit of heat, which I think is helpful. Fresh ginger goes very well with pumpkin, sweet potato, and butternut squash.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 6:29PM
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In Asian stores, you can find many kinds of sweet potatoes. with flesh Red, yellow, purple, or white.

Firmer textures like potatoes, and less sweet.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 6:40PM
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Because it smells so damn good!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 6:47PM
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You can peel, or not. Bake or boil, your choice. I peel, cut into 1/2-inch slices and steam them for 7-10-minutes. You can also steam cubes of sweet potato. I like to steam sweet potato cubes along with some broccoli, toss in some raisins and dress it with a curried vinaigrette dressing.

There are nutritional benefits to steaming or boiling sweet potatoes over roasting. Boiling achieves a lower glycemic index.

I tried something new just the other day....

Puree cooked sweet potatoes with a banana, maple syrup and cinnamon. Top with chopped walnuts (I used some homemade granola).

FYI: Eat some kind of fat with a meal containing sweet potatoes if you want to enjoy the full beta-carotene benefits. "Recent research has shown that a minimum of 3-5 grams of fat per meal significantly increases our uptake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes."

Add some olive oil to mashed sweet potatoes, as an example; or the walnuts or the nuts in the granola on the pureed sweet potato/banana mixture, and the oil in the vinaigrette dressing.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:16PM
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Grainlady, I seldom have problems getting enough fat grams at Thanksgiving dinner. (grin)

However, you are right and the same thing applies to carrots and some other vegetables high in beta-carotene, they need some fat consumption for your body to be able to utilize that beta carotene.

So, have some dip with your carrots and some butter on your sweet potato, and live it up. Happy Thanksgiving.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:40PM
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To me, boiling peeled sweet potatoes and also peeled butternut squash makes them somewhat watery and dilutes the flavor. I roast peeled sweet potatoes wedges seasoned with chili powder or I will bake whole unpeeled sweet potatoes or halved butternut squash for optimum flavor.

And we love our sweet potatoes here!


    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 10:10PM
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Bless your heart....having to make something you don't like. I would protest, but that is just me. Your question was "why cook sweet potatoes BEFORE peeling".....the answer: It is just easier to peel a cooked/baked sweet potato than it is to peel a raw sweet potato. Baking/roasting is also easier than boiling, as in no pan to clean. Line a baking sheet with foil and put the washed potatoes on the foil, pop into oven at about 400 for about 30-40 minutes depending on the size of potato when soft, let cool a bit and the peels come right off. Use as desired...candied, mashed, pie, biscuits, etc.
Happy Thanksgiving!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 5:13AM
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What Murphy said. I peel and then roast them all the time but when I do that I coat them with oil. Boiling doesn't concentrate the sugars as much but is quicker and easier. I love sweet potatoes, but not the canned or candied kind, but I would make them if my family loved them and requested them. We always just had baked sweet potatoes for holidays, mom just covered them in foil and baked them, without peeling. We split them, covered them with butter (so as to better absorb the beta carotene of course!) and then ate them out from inside the skin. But they were very soft. Most often when I am making a dish that calls for cut up sweet potatoes that then needs to be baked in a sauce, I peel and then parboil them first--best of both worlds.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 7:20AM
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Peeling with a peeler takes longer, you need to find the peeler, wash the peeler, put the peeler back and you peel away more potato.

BTW, raw sweet potatoes taste like carrots, good in salads.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 8:34AM
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I've tried the peeling after something's cooked, and do it with beets, but it always makes much more of a mess to me. The peels are all sticky and hard to deal with, at least for clumsy me.

It doesn't seem fair for you to have to bring something you don't like. I actually didn't think anyone really likes those yucky marshmallow sweet potatoes, they just serve them because it's required by law. It must be, or why on earth serve them?


    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 9:44AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

My favorite are Rachel Ray's bourbon pecan smashed sweet potatoes, though I usually leave out the OJ...I find it doesn't add much...and we don't have bourbon so we use Jack Daniels instead...very tasty.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 9:49AM
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Cheryl, that Thai Sweet Potato recipe sounds divine! Thanks for posting the link. Sadyly, I think if I made that for Turkey Day, I'd be chased out of the house with burning torches. They like the goopy, marshmallowy stuff.

Hmpfff! I'll make it for myself! :-)

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 10:45AM
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Funny that as a kid, I hated sweet potato anything, but I love them now. My favorite I call "Sweet Fries".....a happy "accident":

I was baking sweet potato fries as usual one time and got busy outside and forgot about them. They cooked for over an hour longer than I normally would have. Thank goodness they were on air-bake cookie sheets. They were great. Made them again a month later and they were back to "meh" when I remembered that the difference between then and the previous time was the extra hour in the oven. So, I got to experimenting.......

I now cut them to about 3/4-1" thick "fries" (unpeeled). I toss with a sprinkle of Tony Chachere's creole seasoning and cinnamon then drizzle with olive oil. Place in single layer on well-oiled AIRBAKE pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes then I take out of the oven and turn over each fry (they're "done" at this point but they're nothing special). Back into the oven for about 45 minutes longer. Then I turn on the broiler and broil until they start "burning" (turning dark). At this point, they should be gooey on the inside and a bit crunchy around the edges. Tastes like candy. In my electric oven, I crack open the door, and they broil on high for about 15-20 minutes.

We have these as a "treat"--like popcorn. For the 2 of us, I use 4 large sweet potatoes (there's usually leftovers because it's SO filling) on 2 airbake pans. Hubby is always asking for Sweet Fries, but I only do it when I don't mind the oven being on for so long. It's not something we have in the summer! Also, he has to request these long before we actually want to eat them because of the time involved. And, they're great leftover.

One of my favorite things to eat! Good thing they're chock full of nutrients, so it's a sweet treat I don't have to feel guilty about.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 7:59PM
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When you make sweet potato fries make this dip oh my good you take a cup sour cream add about 1/4c brown sugar let sit so flavors can mingle while you make fries mmm

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 8:53AM
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I make sweet potato chips (cut thin using a mandoline and baked) and I bet your sour cream/brown sugar dip would go well with them. Thanks for the recipe! I'll drain some kefir and add some palm sugar to it as a substitute.

I had a good sweet potato crop so we're eating them every which way! I noticed Wal-Mart had sweet potatoes for 38-cent per pound, so that's really cheap fries or chips!


    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 9:50AM
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I always thought the reason you don't peel the potato before boiling it was to keep it from absorbing too much water and becoming a water-logged, mushy mess. I don't know where I got that idea, but that's what I've always thought and that's what I've been teaching my kids. I guess no harm done.

Has anyone else ever heard that theory?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 12:27PM
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My whole life my Mom made candied sweet potatoes that were delicious and very easy. We peel them with a potato peeler and put them in a sauce pan with brown sugar and butter and just a very small amount of water to get the syrup started..then just simmer in the syrup with the lid partially off...the potatoes cook right in the syrup and they are delicious. Depending on how large you make the pieces when you cut them they are done in a jiffy! Plus the syrup cooks down as thick or thin as you like it.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 2:27PM
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I was always told when you boil th e vegetable it loses all nutrients so I started baking ,big difference flavor wise etc.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 3:30PM
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