Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Sweet Potato

I love it when I find great books that are old enough so that their copywrite has expired.  I will be sharing several articles over the next few weeks from a few of these books.  The following is taken from:
Science in The Kitchen
Superintendent of the Sanitarium School of Cookery and of the Bay View Assembly School of Cookery, and Chairman of the World's Fair Committee on Food Supplies, for Michigan
This book is full of everything you wanted to know about Cooking in 1893, I am starting with the subject of Sweet Potatoes.
Description.—The sweet potato is a native of the Malayan Archipelago, where it formerly grew wild; thence it was taken to Spain, and from Spain to England and other parts of the globe. It was largely used in Europe as a delicacy on the tables of the rich before the introduction of the common potato, which has now taken its place and likewise its name. The sweet potato is the article referred as potato by Shakespeare and other English writers, previous to the middle of the seventeenth century.

Preparation and Cooking.—What has been said in reference to the common potato, is generally applicable to the sweet potato; it may be prepared and cooked in nearly all the ways of the Irish potato.

In selecting sweet potatoes, choose firm, plump roots, free from any sprouts; if sprouted they will have a poor flavor, and are likely to be watery.

The sweet potato is best cooked with the skin on; but all discolored portions and the dry portion at each end, together with all branchlets, should be carefully removed, and the potato well washed, and if to be baked or roasted, well dried with a cloth before placing in the oven.

The average time required for boiling is about fifty minutes; baking, one hour; steaming, about one hour; roasting, one and one half hours.


Baked Sweet Potatoes.—Select those of uniform size, wash clean, cutting out any imperfect spots, wipe dry, put into moderately hot oven, and bake about one hour, or until the largest will yield to gentle pressure between the fingers. Serve at once without peeling. Small potatoes are best steamed, since if baked, the skins will take up nearly the whole potato.

Baked Sweet Potato No. 2.—Select potatoes of medium size, wash and trim but do not pare, and put on the upper grate of the oven. For a peek of potatoes, put in the lower part of the oven in a large shallow pan a half pint of hot water. The water may be turned directly upon the oven bottom if preferred. Bake slowly, turning once when half done. Serve in their skins, or peel, slice, and return to the oven until nicely browned.

Boiled Sweet Potatoes.—Choose potatoes of equal size; do not pare, but after cleaning them well and removing any imperfect spots, put into cold water and boll until they can be easily pierced with a fork; drain thoroughly, and lay them on the top grate in the oven to dry for five or ten minutes. Peel as soon as dry, and send at once to the table, in a hot dish covered with a folded napkin. Sweet potatoes are much better baked than boiled.

Steamed Sweet Potatoes.—Wash the potatoes well, cut out any discolored portions, and steam over a kettle of boiling water until they can be easily pierced with a fork, not allowing the water in the pot to cease boiling for a moment. Steam only sufficient to cook them, else they will be watery.

Browned Sweet Potatoes.—Slice cold, cooked sweet potatoes evenly, place on slightly oiled tins in a hot oven, and brown.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes.—Either bake or steam nice sweet potatoes, and when tender, peel, mash them well, and season with cream and salt to taste. They may be served at once, or made into patties and browned in the oven.

Potato Hash.—Take equal parts of cold Irish and sweet potatoes; chop fine and mix thoroughly; season with salt if desired, and add sufficient thin cream to moisten well. Turn into a stewpan, and heat gently until boiling, tossing continually, that all parts become heated alike, and serve at once.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes.—Wash clean and wipe dry, potatoes of uniform size, wrap with tissue paper, cover with hot ashes, and then with coals from a hardwood fire; unless near the main fire, the coals will need renewing a few times. This will require a longer time than by any other method, but they are much nicer. The slow, continuous heat promotes their mealiness. When tender, brush the ashes off with a broom, and wipe with a dry cloth. Send to the table in their jackets.

To Dry Sweet Potatoes.—Carefully clean and drop them into boiling water. Let them remain until the skins can be easily slipped off; then cut into slices and spread on racks to dry. To prepare for cooking, soak over night, and boil the next day.


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