Sweet potatoes grow in Louisiana and autumn is harvest season for this agricultural crop. We are lucky to have the freshest and sweetest potatoes in grocery stores which were grown in the central part of the state. Here is a very easy recipe, “Candied Sweet Potatoes,” which makes a good way cook this healthy vegetable. The twist to the recipe is that the glaze is fruit and juice; which sweetens the potatoes but doesn’t add too much sugar.
A nice surprise to this dish is that it has a pleasing fruity flavor; it isn’t full of sugar as you might guess from the title. Instead, the recipe combines pineapple and orange juice with the sweet potatoes for just right amount of glaze. I see this as a “light” version of heavily sugared Candied Sweet Potatoes.
The recipe is from the cookbook, “Mennonite Country-Style Recipes & Kitchen Secrets,” by Esther H. Shank. I purchased the cookbook at a tiny hard goods store in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley this past summer. The store’s proprietor mentioned several of her favorite recipes; this was one. This cookbook author, Esther H. Shank, collected all her favorite recipes as a keep-sake for her daughters; the resulting recipe book is full of great recipes and her secrets.
The book is available from HeraldPress.com
or it can be purchased from Amazon.com
Louisiana Sweet Potatoes
Louisiana sweet potatoes are large and orange or reddish and the variety most commonly grown is Beauregard. Louisiana farmers started growing sweet potatoes in the 1930’s when the boll weevil wiped out cotton and they needed another cash crop. This type of sweet potato has a deep orange flesh and is high is sucrose giving it a sweet taste. Louisiana grows about 20% of the sweet potatoes nation wide.
Sweet potatoes are very nutritious. They are high in carotene, the precursor to Vitamin A, and also high in potassium and fiber as well as containing moderate amounts of other vitamins and minerals. When purchasing sweet potatoes, they should be kept at a cool room temperature – not refrigerated — until cooked. They will easily keep several weeks to a month.
Candied Sweet Potatoes and Variation
To make the recipe, peel and dice the sweet potatoes. Cut out the eyes. Use a sharp, large chef’s knife for this task and a steady hand. Sweet potatoes are hard and firm and can be difficult to slice. How many sweet potatoes do you use? Louisiana sweet potatoes are large. Two potatoes shown above are 1-1/2 pounds. I suggest purchasing 2 lb potatoes for this casserole which yielded 6 cups of diced potatoes.
Make a sauce of the orange juice, crushed pineapple, brown sugar, margarine and salt. When the sauce boils and thickens, pour over the sweet potatoes in a casserole dish and bake until bubbly. Here is the casserole ready for the oven.
This variation is very fruity, too and turned out great. Here are the Apple Candied Sweet Potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are very healthy; this is an easy recipe and a good way to include Louisiana sweet potatoes in meals.
Candied Sweet Potatoes
- 6 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp cornshtarch
- 1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained
- 1/2 cup orange soda pop or orange juice
- 1/4 cup margarine, melted
Method and Steps
- Peel sweet potatoes, cut in chunks, and cook until tender.
- Arrange in greased 2 quart casserole dish.
- Combine brown sugar, salt, cornstarch, crushed pineapple, orange juice and margarine in saucepan. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Pour over potatoes in dish.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
From “Mennonite Country-Style Recipes & Kitchen Secrets” by Esther H. Shank.
©1987 by Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Va. Used with Permission.