sweet potatoes

Boniato (also called batata or tropical sweet potato) is a white, starchy, and dry version of the common sweet potato. It’s popular in Florida and the Caribbean, but well-known throughout the Americas and some of Europe (Spain in particular). It was cultivated as far back as 1,000 years ago in Central and South America. Its skin is red-to-purple in color, and has white flesh. As far as I can tell, it is nearly identical to the Japanese sweet potato in terms of appearance and taste; considering the fact that sweet potatoes were a late addition to Japan (around the 17th century), I’d guess that the differences between the two is minimal. I’ve also seen identical sweet potatoes labeled as Korean sweet potatoes here in Maryland.

Taste-wise, boniato is like a cross between a white potato and sweet potato. If you’re missing the consistency of white potatoes but react poorly to them, this is the dish for you.

Preparing boniato is easy. Because the potato is naturally creamy, you only need to add a little cream to them to get a truly decadent flavor. If you’re dairy-free, they’re still surprisingly creamy when made with only chicken broth.

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This may fall under the no-brainer category, but I thought I would explain how we bake our sweet potatoes here at the house. It’s one of our simplest recipes, and the only thing it needs is about 45 minutes of cooking time to ensure you get that perfect potato. Additionally, we like to take five seconds out of our busy day and add a little cinnamon to our potatoes, which gives just a twinge of complexity to the taste.

Here’s a couple neat facts about sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes originated in Central/South America. Papua New Guinea eats the most sweet potatoes per capita, with 500kg per person annually. North Carolina supplies most of the sweet potatoes we find in US markets. They’re only distant cousins to the white potato, despite sharing the same name. They’re also pretty distantly related to yams (which originated in Africa), even though here in the US we often (incorrectly) label our sweet potatoes as “yams”.

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