Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite fall vegetables. Their colorful orange flesh is not only tasty but good for you, containing carotenoid pigments that fill you with a surprising amount of vitamin A and antioxidants.
Although sweet potatoes may be best thought of as part of the Thanksgiving tradition, be sure to add these wonderful naturally sweet vegetables to your meals throughout the year.
You can do that by preserving sweet potatoes and yams while they are in season, then you can enjoy them anytime your heart desires.
Sweet Potato Facts
Peak season: September – December
One pound of sweet potatoes = 2-3 medium
Look for: Thick, chunky, medium size roots that taper at the end
Avoid: roots with bruises or decay
Fresh Storage: Store unwashed potatoes in a dark, well-ventilated area at room temperature for 7 days. Refrigeration is not recommended, as the potato will form a hard inner core when exposed to cold.
Related Post: Homemade Ground Turmeric from Fresh Roots
Incorporating sweet potatoes into your long-term food storage
If you have the room, put cooked potatoes in the freezer. Just cook until tender, then peel, cut into slices or mash, and pack into containers. Be sure to leave room for expanding in the container.
Frozen sweet potato cubes or mash will last in the freezer for up to one year.
Pressure canning sweet potatoes is also an option. Boil or steam fresh potatoes for 15 minutes until they are slightly soft and easier to process. Cut them into smallish chunks and pack them into hot pint size jars. Cover the cubes with boiling water or a light syrup and leave an inch of headroom. These are processed in a pressure canner at 11 pounds pressure for 65 minutes.
Canning of mashed sweet potatoes is not recommended. The density of the finished product restricts the center of the jars from reaching the proper temperature; therefore you run the risk of foodborne illness.
One of the easiest ways to preserve your extras may be to mash them, dehydrate, and turn those sweet potatoes into flour.
Sweet Potato Flour
Sweet potato flour rehydrates quickly using boiling water to create “instant” mashed sweet potatoes. It’s great if you are making baby food, or want to serve a healthy side dish.
After processing, store the sweet potato powder in a jar and refrigerate for up to 1 month. For additional storage time, include a 100cc oxygen absorber in the jar, or vacuum-seal the jar with a FoodSaver jar attachment. With oxygen removed you can refrigerate sweet potato flour for 3 to 6 months.
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To Make Sweet Potato Flour
Yield: 2 cups mash becomes ½ cup flour
Prep time: 60 minutes
Cook time: 5 to 10 hours
2 pounds of sweet potatoes (4 to 6 potatoes)
- Wash and peel sweet potatoes. Cut potatoes into thin strips and boil for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are soft, then drain potatoes. Alternatively, bake them whole and cut them when cooked.
- Mash the sweet potatoes to a smooth consistency. Thin with cooking water if necessary.
- Spread potato mash on a dehydrator sheet, plastic-wrap lined tray, or on fruit leather sheets in ½-cup amounts. Spread VERY thin.
- Dry at 135°F for 4 to 6 hours. When the top is dry, turn the sheets of sweet potatoes over, remove the tray wrap, and dry the underside for another 1 to 2 hours if necessary.
- Stop drying when the sweet potato sheets are crispy, and the product crumbles.
- Process into a powder by adding ½ cup of the dehydrated sweet potato bark at a time into a blender or food processor and blending.
Other Uses for Sweet Potato Flour
Make instant mashed sweet potatoes by slowly adding hot water to powdered sweet potatoes until you reach a thick mashed-potato consistency. Add sugar and spices as needed.
Make sweet potato biscuits by replacing up to ½ cup of sweet potato powder with an equal part of flour. Keep this in mind while making substitutions; ½ cup of flour = 2 cups of mashed potatoes.
Add sweet potato powder to morning smoothies.
Make morning porridge by combining 1 tablespoon sweet potato powder, dried fruit, and ½ cup quick oats with 1 cup of boiling water.