In this article, we are going to discuss about how long to cook a sweet potato in the oven? Also sweet potato skin nutrition benefits. Sweet potatoes does not contain fat, they have low calorie content and they are very rich in vitamins as well as minerals therefore providing more than one hundred percent the daily recommend intake value for vitamin A, which is known to be an essential nutrient that is responsible for giving proper eyesight, strong healthy bones and a good immune system. According to research, each sweet potato is said to contain small amounts of vitamin C, as well as vitamin B-6 and folate. Not only that, it is also a great source of protein and fiber as it contains about 2 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. This is to say that by the time you consume one sweet potato, it may have reduced in the amount of nutrients due to factors such as cooking, storage as well as the method of preparation. Therefore, it is necessary to state that microwaving a sweet potato is a very healthy method of preparing it. This is so because microwaving sweet potato may help to ensure that it remains as healthy as possible.

Preparing sweet potato with water quickly begins to reduce its store of water-soluble vitamins drastically. Accommodating research carried out by various scholars, it is said that vegetables lose up to 30% of their vitamin C content whereas steamed vegetables lose roughly about 20%. Using these methods,it is therefore advisable to use a soup to accompany the vegetable. This is so because if you make a soup, you might be able to save some of the nutrients by drinking the broth, but when you boil and drain a vegetable, you end up discarding many of its important vitamins. Since microwave doesn’t need water, it is considered a unique and safe method of preparing sweet potato. This is so because microwaving a sweet potato eliminates the tendency for addition of extra water, therefore, it helps hold its nutrients.

Another report also shows that microwaving vegetables helps them to retain more than 90% of their vitamin C content. This is to say that more nutrients in a food are retained with fast cooking methods than slow cooking methods. Slow cooking method like roasting in the oven, can cause food to lose roughly about 10% or more nutrients than fast cooking methods. It is also necessary to note that keeping foods hot for two hours or even more can cause them to lose more than 10% of their remaining folate, as well as  vitamin C and vitamin B-6 content.

However, it is advisable that in order to retain maximum nutrient, pierce the sweet potato several times (let’s say 8 to 10 times) with a fork and microwave it with the skin still on it. Although, most of the nutritional benefits of sweet potato are in the flesh, its skin is also richly endowed with some nutrients as it provides fiber, seals vitamins inside the flesh and also aids the prevention of oxidation, which could diminish nutrients. Also note that cutting it into small pieces before cooking will also expose more of the flesh to air, which encourags oxidation. If you wish to dispose the skin, allow the sweet potato cool off after it has been cooked and peel I off the skin before serving.

Microwaving a sweet potato can help it retain nutrients, but researchers added that if you store the already cooked vegetables in a refrigerator and you reheat them the next day, they have the tendency to lose up to 30% of their remaining vitamin C and folate. Therefore, in order to minimize nutrient loss, it is advisable to refrigerate  sweet potatoes in an airtight container with their skin still on and heat them just enough to make them palatable. And if you enjoy eating your sweet potatoes cold, it salvages more of their health benefits than reheating them.

Can you eat the raw skin of a sweet potato?

Sweet potato skin nutrition benefits

A medium sized (146 gram) sweet potato with it’s skin on provides the following nutritional values:

1. Calories: 130

2. Carbs: 30 grams

3. Protein: 3 grams

4. Fiber: 5 grams

5. Provitamin A: 154% of the recommended daily value

6. Vitamin C: 31% of the recommended daily value

7. Potassium: 15% of the recommended daily value

Research has shown that the fiber content of sweet potatoes mainly comes from the skin. So therefore, disposing it will reduce your fiber intake.

Research has also shown that the nutrients in fruits and vegetables tend to be concentrated around the skin. Thus, disposing the skin could also reduce your nutrients and antioxidants intake.

One major benefit of sweet potato skins is that it is high in fiber

Sweet potatoes are a unique source of fiber. However, the fiber content can be drastically reduced when the skin is disposed.

The importance of fiber is that it helps to increase the feeling of fullness. Not only that, it also helps to support a healthy gut microbiome, and also manage blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Another important health benefit of sweet potato is that it is a source of antioxidants

Sweet potatoes are undoubtedly high in antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, E, beta carotene as well as some vital acids. Purple sweet potatoes are also a great source of antioxidants, one of which is called anthocyanins. These antioxidants aids the prevention of cellular damage and are also associated with a lower risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer. Now, since it has been noted that antioxidants tend to be concentrated in the skin and just below it, we can however say that eating sweet potato skins can increase your antioxidant intake.

Although sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber and other essential nutrients, there are also some risk factors associated with it.

Since sweet potatoes are tuber crops which are grown on the ground, it is important that they are properly washed so as to remove debris, excess dirts as well as pesticides.

Sweet potatoes are easy to wash. All you need to do is to place it under running water and scrub it with a vegetable brush. Since they have touch skins are, there is absolutely no need to worry about damaging it or the flesh.

How to eat sweet potato skins

You can either enjoy sweet potato skins by themselves or along with the flesh.

Below are some delicious and easy ways to enjoy them:

1. Baked, fried or boiled

2. Stuffed

3. Deep fried

4. Mashed with the flesh

5. Eaten as fries or wedges

For most of the sweet potato recipes listed above, it is not necessary to remove the skin. Although, some special dishes, such as desserts, are much more preferable without the skins.

How long to cook a sweet potato in the oven?

How long to cook a sweet potato in the oven depends on two factors:

First, the size of your sweet potato

And second, the oven temperature

Personally, I love to bake my sweet potatoes at 400F for about 45 minutes.

It ranges between 40 minutes and 1 hour depending on the size of the sweet potato.

Therefore, I try my best to make sure all of my potatoes are roughly the same size and shape when making oven baked sweet potatoes. This simply means that they will all get done at the same time and also ready to be served at the same time!

Sweet potato toppings

The best part about making and also eating sweet potatoes is the toppings! Your perfect sweet potato can be created when you mix and match the best spices and toppings. Below are some wonderful ideas of toppings for your baked sweet potatoes:

1. Butter, salt and pepper

2. Brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and salt

3. Maple syrup, butter and toasted pecans

4. Sour cream, chives, salt, and pepper

5. Blue cheese, walnuts and honey

6. Mini marshmallows, brown sugar and cinnamon (note that in order to make this topping, you should pop it under the broiler to toast the marshmallows a bit)

You can as well add any of these to your sweet potato if you wish to elevate it from side dish to superb main dish:

1. Beef, turkey or veggie chili

2. Sloppy Joe meat

3. Taco seasoned beef or chicken

4. Black beans, avocado, corn and salsa

5. Shredded chicken tossed with BBQ sauce.

Baked sweet potatoes can also make a delicious breakfast that is appealing to your taste buds! You can bake some extra sweet potatoes at dinner so that you have leftovers for breakfast or better still, you can make fresh sweet potatoes for breakfast. If you are going to have the leftovers for breakfast, you are advised to eat it cold if you can so as to retain the nutrient and if you can’t, then reheat them in the microwave before adding your favorite toppings. Below is a list of my favorite toppings for breakfast:

1. Almond butter, granola, berries and honey

2. Peanut butter, sliced bananas, honey and cinnamon

3. Vanilla yogurt and berries

Microwave sweet potato chips

For me, sweet potato chips never get crispy enough in the oven, but the microwaved method works great magic! It is not time consuming and it requires little or no effort at all. Infact, I call it the “lazy girl’s cooking method”  LOL

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Note that this recipe yields 2 servings.

Ingredients:

1. 1 sweet potato, thinly sliced

2. 2 teaspoons olive oil, or as needed

3. 1 pinch coarse sea salt.

Directions on how to microwave sweet potato chips

1. The first thing you need to do is to combine sweet potato slices and olive oil in a large bowl then toss to coat. Once that is done, carefully arrange sweet potato slices in a single layer on a large microwave-safe plate and eason with salt to taste.

2. Cook in microwave until the chips becomes very dry, crisp, and also slightly browned. Note that this process takes only about 5 minutes. Once that is done, cool chips on plate before transferring to a bowl. Now repeat this steps with the remaining sweet potato slices.

Your microwave sweet potato chips is ready to be served.

Microwave sweet potato fries

Microwave sweet potato fries are a healthy alternative to the outdated French fries. The lemon pepper as well as yh Italian seasoning adds a unique twist to this vegetable. Making microwave sweet potato fries is not time consuming and it requires little or no efforts.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Total time: 55 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1. 4 sweet potatoes, cut into large French fries

2. 1 tablespoon water

3. 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

4. ½ teaspoon lemon pepper

5. 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste

6. 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions on how to microwave sweet potato fries

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Place the already cut sweet potatoes into a microwave-safe dish with some water. Cook in the microwave for nothing less than 5 minutes on full power. Once you have done that, drain off the excess liquid, and then toss with your Italian seasoning, salt to taste, lemon pepper, olive oil as well as pepper. Now carefully arrange fries on a baking sheet in a single layer.

3. Bake for nothing less than 30 minutes, turning once, or until the fries becomes crispy on the outside. Repeat this steps with the remaining sweet potato slices.

Your microwave sweet potato fries is ready to be served.

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