Sweet potato is a staple that is grown here in Jamaica as well as several other countries in the world. It was one of those root crops grown by the Arawak Indians who inhabited the Island at the time when Christopher Columbus first set foot on the island. There are several varieties of the staple presently grown here. The three most commonly grown ones are white, yellow or deep orange when cooked.
Sweet potatoes are extremely versatile; as such they are consumed in many ways. The potato can be eaten by simply peeling away the skin and boiling with a pinch of salt. It can be diced, boiled and used to make a sweet potato salad or it can be added to soup to help enhance the flavour, in the meantime adding body to the soup.
Another very popular way to use the sweet potato is to make a candied dish. In fact this is a holiday delight for most families. The sweet potato could also be blanched, that is after peeling and putting the slices in a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes, they are quickly removed and paced in some cold water. These blanched pieces of sweet potato having been properly drained can be fried lightly.
Sweet potatoes can be baked as a whole. Usually, a really large size potato is ideal for baking. After peeling the baked potato, it could be eaten as is or by adding a little butter.
To be used as a snack the sweet potato could be peeled, sliced thinly and deep fried. Sweet potato chips are delectable and are always a welcome treat included in family gatherings, business meetings and any other social event.
Added to all the uses mentioned above is the sweet potato pudding. This is a pastry enjoyed in Jamaica, and a number of the islands in the Caribbean. Unlike the other uses of the sweet potato in the ideas previously advanced; in making the sweet potato pudding, the potato is not cooked, Instead it is peeled and grated.
Like most things there are several variations of the sweet potato pudding. Among these are, sweet potato with yellow yam and cornmeal, sweet potato with cornmeal and flour, or sweet potato with coco. The real delight about the pudding is the combination of creamy coconut milk, with sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla with the grated sweet potato. The actual baking is no less delightful as the aroma which fills the air surely triggers all the excitement needed to get the taste buds going and the digestive juices in a state of anticipation.
Sweet potato pudding is a mouthwatering delight served in restaurants, sold in corner shops, school canteens, and dozen of pastry shops. For a recipes using the potato visit www.mouthwatering-recipes.com
-- Maureen E. Swaby-Samuels