Sweet potatoes are usually seen as staples during the autumn season but Souplantation wants to change it and, in fact, it has been trying to so for a couple of years. Here, the baked sweet potatoes will be on the table on a year-round basis because it’s a good thing to pass up!
In the United States, sweet potatoes are strongly associated with Thanksgiving, an autumn vegetable, if you will. These are usually served with Thanksgiving dinner, usually along with the roasted potatoes and other vegetables, as well as in your Grandma’s beloved sweet potato pie.
The creamier texture and sweeter taste of sweet potatoes make them perfect in both savory dishes and sweet desserts – truly, a versatile vegetable. Many people like sweet potatoes, for example, with a generous ladling of maple butter while others may like savory toppings, such as chili. Beyond the taste, however, we want to look at the super-food status of sweet potatoes.
Sweet, Indeed, with Its High Nutrient Content
Did you know that sweet potatoes come in several colors? Most Americans know the orange variety since it’s the most common but there’s a veritable rainbow of colors the root crop is available in – different shades of yellow, red, purple, pink, brown, and beige. The color influences not only the flavor and moisture of sweet potatoes – those with beige to pale yellow flesh are less sweet than other colors – but also the nutrient content.
Scientists say that sweet potatoes with purple and violet flesh have higher antioxidant content. This isn’t so surprising considering that many super-foods are in these colors, such as grapes.
Antioxidants are the substances that reduce the effects of free radicals on your body. Free radicals are chemicals that accelerate the process of aging by harming the cells, thus, health experts recommend eating antioxidant-rich foods for a healthy body.
Sweet potatoes are also rich in the following vitamins, minerals and other beneficial nutrients:
- Vitamin A, a micronutrient essential in maintaining good eye and skin health. A medium-sized baked potato contains 400% of your daily recommended intake.
- Beta-carotene, an antioxidant that can reduce the risk of certain illnesses including eye disease and cancer. If you’re not into carrots for any reason, sweet potatoes are your best alternatives to get your beta-carotene intake.
- Vitamin C boosts the immune system’s capacity to fight off infections.
- Vitamin B6, an essential vitamin in the body’s production of serotonin and norepinephrine (i.e., feel-good hormones).
- Iron and magnesium, which are minerals that aid in muscle function
- Potassium, a mineral that aids in proper heart and muscle function (i.e., sweet potatoes have higher potassium content than bananas, too).
Sweet potatoes also have higher fiber content so these are popular among people who want to lose weight, maintain the health of their digestive system, and juts generally feel fuller for longer periods. These tubers also have low glycemic index – potatoes rank higher – so these are also recommended for diabetics as substitutes for potatoes.
By the way, sweet potatoes and potatoes aren’t closely related. Instead, these are distant relatives belonging to different families – sweet potatoes are in the morning glory family while potatoes are in the nightshade family. Both, however, belong to the Solanales taxonomic order.
Sweet, Indeed, Are the Choices
At Souplantation, the selection of sweet potato-based dishes and desserts is still limited. But what it lacks in number, it more than makes up for in flavorful quality! The baked sweet potatoes with its creamy texture and delicious flavor makes it to the top of our list, although we have to say that the other dishes with the super-food in it are just as tempting to the palate.
What makes the cooked sweet potatoes served at Souplantation restaurants so yummy? Well, the chain doesn’t just use any sweet potatoes sourced from random farms! Instead, the tubers are supplied by the Alvernaz family farm started by Sweet Potato Joe, the legendary farmer who introduced more modern farming methods into the cultivation of sweet potatoes.
Nowadays, the Alvernaz family has perfected sweet potato cultivation, a fact that shows in the world-class quality of an otherwise humble root vegetable. The sweet potatoes, for example, are cultivated only in a specific type of soil and stored in wooden bins to keep them fresh longer after harvest; the farmers say the temperature inside the wooden bins are between 55 and 60 degrees while the humidity is at 80%.
According to Souplantation’s management, the chain will continue to offer more creative sweet potato dishes, a piece of good news for people who know the benefits of these tubers. We can expect both savory and sweet dishes because sweet potatoes lend themselves well to both types.
And don’t believe the rumor about sweet potatoes causing a high incidence of farting either! You have to eat plenty of the tubers before you will experience an upset stomach and you will likely not do so because sweet potatoes make you feel fuller faster and longer.