Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - 38

GEORGIA Cooks
By Jane F. Garvey
F
Sweet potatoes offer a
ew vegetables are as closely associated with Southern cuisine as the sweet
potato. Most of us are familiar with the orange sweet potato, but the orange
variety isn't your only option. The purple sweet potato, high in antioxidants,
has a creamy texture and gets its color from the pigment anthocyanin, which reportedly
confers numerous health benefits. Japanese sweet potatoes offer a nutty flavor
reminiscent of a roasted chestnut, while white-fleshed sweet potatoes (actually a very
pale yellow) are a less-sweet variety.
Yams often are confused with sweet potatoes. But yams are related to grasses
and lilies, and they are botanically completely different from sweet potatoes, which
are kin to morning glories. Yams are starchier and drier than any sweet potato, so
they typically are not interchangeable in recipes.
When you shop
Whichever sweet potato you purchase, look for small to medium-sized potatoes,
which are less starchy than very large ones. Their skins should be smooth and
unblemished.
Second-generation farmer EliYahu Ben Asa of Atlanta Harvest in Ellenwood
says that sweet potato leaves are good to eat, but their stems have tough parts that
need to be discarded.
" They're like collard greens, " he says, " but lighter. "
Add onion, garlic, sea salt and maybe some olive oil while cooking them.
A favorite on the menu
The sweet potato lends its name to Stone Mountain's Sweet Potato
Café, founded in 2011 by Karen and Darrell Patton.
The restaurant's menu features the tuber in recipes ranging
from appetizers to desserts. An entire section of the menu offers
variations of the baked sweet potato from plain to loaded-up. Saturday
brunch features a sweet potato waffle.
But perhaps the most amazing creation on the menu is the
sweet potato marmalade, with its hints of spice and orange. Chef
Karen Patton pairs it with a sweet potato biscuit, but it could grace
anything, including toast or a classic Southern biscuit.
" I got interested in sweet potatoes from caring for my mother
[Ethel Sprague Sanchez], who had blood sugar issues, " Patton says.
Sweet potatoes are a healthier option than white potatoes in
a diabetic meal regimen.
No matter how you cook your sweet potatoes, you can keep them
flavorful and healthful by preparing them with less sugar than is
traditional in many Southern sweet potato dishes and using aromatic
seasonings. Of course, there's nothing wrong with a dab of local
honey or sorghum, though.
Jane F. Garvey is a food, wine and travel freelance writer from
Decatur.
38 Georgia Magazine October 2021
Right: Sweet potatoes come in several
colors, including this purple variety.
Above: Chef Karen Patton opened the
Sweet Potato Café in Stone Mountain
with her husband, Darrell, in 2011.
Below: House-made sweet potato
marmalade is a specialty at the
restaurant.
rainbow of colors and options
J
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T
WET
CARL KING PHOTOGRAPHY

Georgia Magazine - October 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - October 2021

Contents
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - 4
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - 5
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - 6
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - 7
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - 8
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