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As sweet potatoes are one of the most important crops in the world, it only makes sense that National Cook a Sweet Potato Day has arisen over the ages. Sweet potatoes are delicious and chock-full of all sorts of vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy, and it’s high time we stopped looking at them as just an addition to our Thanksgiving dinner.

History of National Cook a Sweet Potato Day

No official origin of Sweet Potato Day itself can be found, however it is likely that various cultures have honoured this food for centuries. In fact, the sweet potato has been cultivated and enjoyed for thousands of years, as the origin and domestication of the sweet potato are estimated to have happened at least 5000 years ago.

When digging up the remains of an ancient Peruvian culture, researchers found remnants of sweet potatoes that may date back as far as 8000 B.C.

When introduced to Europe in the 16th century, the sweet potato was automatically declared a delicacy and was very expensive, which was especially strange seeing as how it had taken the English 200 (!) years to start treating Irish potatoes like real food.

Till this day, sweet potatoes are a staple in countries such as Uganda and Rwanda, and they are also very popular in most Asian countries, from Japan to Vietnam to India.

How to celebrate National Cook a Sweet Potato Day

National Cook a Sweet Potato Day is our chance to recognise the important contributions that this vegetable has made to humanity.

As with other food-related events, part of the fun of this day is that we can cook a sweet potato however we see fit. Whether it is boiled, steamed, fried or prepared with other delectable dishes, the sweet potato is both healthy and tasty.

Sweet potatoes can be used in salads, pies and soups. They can be used as a side dish or serve as the main course when made into a casserole. They can be combined with flour, yeast and several other ingredients to be made into rolls, or they can be combined with eggs, sugar and spices like cinnamon to make a delicious pie. There are even recipes for sweet potato quesadillas, sweet potato pudding and sweet potato chip dip to be found.

Here is a fast and easy recipe for some healthy fries and dip that will help you keep your New Year’s resolutions and watch your waistline:

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • 3 sweet potatoes, cut into about 1 by 5-inch “fries”
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup thick sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 fresh clove garlic, minced

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Slice the sweet potatoes into fries and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Toss well with the olive oil. Combine the basil, salt, and pepper in a little bowl and sprinkle the mixture over the fries. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. In another bowl combine the mayonnaise and sour cream, garlic, and lemon juice, and stir to combine. When the sweet potato fries come out of the oven, serve them with the garlic sauce alongside for dipping.

All in all, cook a Sweet Potato Day may very well be one of the “sweetest” celebrations around!

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