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japanese sweet potatoes

I want to tell you about my new favorite food: The Japanese Sweet Potato.

Trader Joe's sells a 3lb bag of Japanese Sweet Potatoes for $3.99 here in Seattle. I decided to bake them whole, in the skin, and then planned to mash them with spices and butter after they were cooked. Turned out that they are so sweet and flavorful that I didn't even add salt! You can, of course, but I think you'll be as shocked as I was at the intense flavor that you may just want to eat them plain, like I do.

Heat your oven to 400F, scrub the outside of the potatoes, poke a few holes in them, and cook them on a pan for 30-60 minutes, depending on size. Let them cool a bit, peel them or slice them with a sharp knife (the skin gets dry but the inside is nice and soft) and eat them up! You can eat the skin, and many people think it's very important do do so, but I find the skin more enjoyable when I steam them vs. baking them. But I think that the flavor of the flesh is better when baked... so try both and see which one you prefer. They come out SO sticky sweet, truly as sweet as a dessert.

This is easy, cheap, nutritious, and downright delicious. Below are some facts about the background and nutrition content of these yummy tubers.


*The Japanese sweet potato is a red- or purple-skinned, yellow-white fleshed potato that belongs to the Ipomea batata botanical family. According to Herbal Extracts Plus, the Japanese sweet potato is similar to American yams, but tastes sweeter. Japanese sweet potatoes are a good source of dietary fiber and provide a number of essential vitamins and minerals.

Calories And Fat

According to the USDA Agricultural Research Service Nutrient Data Laboratory, an average-sized raw Japanese sweet potato -- approximately 5 inches long and weighing 130 grams -- contains about 113 calories. None of these calories are provided by fat. Sweet potatoes contain no fat, saturated fat or cholesterol.


Japanese sweet potatoes contain approximately 27 grams of carbohydrates. This carbohydrate value comes from three sources: dietary fiber, sugars and starch. Japanese sweet potatoes contain approximately 4 grams of dietary fiber, providing about 16 percent of the daily value for fiber. The 5 grams of sugars in Japanese sweet potatoes are predominantly sucrose and glucose, with a small amount of fructose. The USDA reports that the potatoes contain about 17 grams of starch.


Japanese sweet potatoes provide approximately 2 grams of protein. While trace amounts of all essential amino acids are present, the potatoes contain the compounds threonine, leucine, phenylalanine, valine, alanine and serine in the largest amounts.


Japanese sweet potatoes are a rich source of a variety of vitamins essential for optimum health, including vitamins A, C, E and B-6. According to the USDA, Japanese sweet potatoes contain 11,062 micrograms of vitamin A, providing 202.2 percent of daily value. One average-sized sweet potato provides 30 percent of the DV for vitamin C and about 12 percent of the vitamin B-6 requirement. These vitamins are thought to act as powerful antioxidants, preventing cellular damage from free radicals in the body.


Potassium, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, iron and magnesium are all minerals that Japanese sweet potatoes contain in large amounts. With 438 milligrams of potassium in every average-sized potato, Japanese sweet potatoes provide nearly 10 percent of the daily requirement. They provide 25 percent of the daily requirement for manganese, and about 12 percent of the copper requirement.

*source: Michelle Kerns

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