Q. We just picked up some sweet potatoes from a local farmer’s market and as we were leaving, I heard the lady selling them tell another customer that she could easily microwave them. I’ve microwaved potatoes, but not sweet potatoes. Can you microwave sweet potatoes?
A. Sweet potato is one of the world’s healthiest foods. They are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and phosphorus. Plus, they’re fat-free, quite low in sodium and have less calories than white potatoes although they have more sugar.
Native to Peru and discovered by Columbus, cultivation of sweet potatoes dates back to 750 BCE. Contrary to what you may have heard, they are not yams, which are usually more moist that the many varieties of sweet potatoes.
You can microwave sweet potatoes whole if you make sure to pierce it several time with a fork or knife, just as you would a regular potato, to keep it from exploding from interior steam buildup. Time can vary widely depending on your microwave and size of the sweet potato but try 4 or 5 minutes on high for the first sweet potato, adding 2 or 3 minutes for each additional one. Turn them over halfway through the cooking time.
Another way to microwave a sweet potato is to peel and cut into evenly sized chunks before putting them in a microwave safe dish. Add 1-2 tablespoons water, cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes or until soft to pierce with a fork.
After microwaving your sweet potato, allow them a few minutes to cool as they can be quite hot when ready. You can test their readiness and softness with a fork before serving, then serve sliced and sprinkled with cumin, cayenne pepper and curry powder – or however you enjoy this super healthy root vegetable the most.