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Native American

 Herbs  & Plants

Of The Southwest

Sweet   Potatoes

The Sweet Potato, ipomoea batatas, is another one of the Native American plants found by Columbus and his sailors, and mentioned in the written records of his fourth voyage. It is often difficult, when reading these early chronicles, to determine which type of potato is being referenced. The natives of the Caribbean islands referred to this plant as “batatas”. This led to some confusion with the very different potato plant, sometimes known as the “Irish” or “white” potato. From this continent, sweet potatoes were first taken to Spain, and then spread to other parts of the world, such as the East Indies, the Philippines, Malaya, India and China, by Spanish and Portuguese explorers.

In the US, the yellow or orange fleshed varieties are the most popular, because of their carotene and Vitamin A content, but in other parts of the world, varieties range in color from white to purple. We all know “Candied Sweet Potatoes” as an important component of traditional Thanksgiving dinners. The sweet potato is grown primarily for human food in the North, but is also used for animal fodder in the South. Personally, I feel that feeding it to livestock is a fine thing to do with it, and no amount of dressing it up with syrup and marshmallows will make me change my mind.

OK- you want a recipe, right? I feel the darn things are actually quite good if you scrub 'em and bake 'em at 400 until done, and serve them just like a "regular" baked potato, with butter, chives and sour cream. Of course, a roof shingle would taste good that way............

All right, here's your recipe, but no marshmallows or other desecrating "goo":