A simple recipe for sweet potatoes* which takes about one-half hour, including peeling time, and goes straight from an all-in-one-pan-cooking process to the table.

Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup (may substitute brown sugar, if necessary)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, cover and place over medium heat.  When boiling, reduce heat to low, and continue to cook, stirring or shaking pan every 5 minutes, until sweet potatoes are very tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.  Add additional water, if mixture cooks away.  Serve hot. 

Yield:  Makes about 4 servings.

*Sweet Potatoes or Yams? 

Actually North American sweet potatoes are neither potatoes nor yams.  Sweet potatoes sold in the USA are roots, not tubers, as are white potatoes; furthermore,  true “yams” are not grown to sell in markets in the United States. The Caribbean region produces many varieties of yams, which all have a thick skin, almost like bark, and are more starchy tasting than North American sweet potatoes when cooked..

Sweet potatoes show up in two basic varieties in North American markets.  Darker-skinned ones have more orange flesh (more beta carotene = more orange) and a higher sugar content, which makes them a good choice for caramelizing.  Lighter-skinned ones have more starch, thus are a good choice for a baking “potato.”  Served plain, a sweet potato is cholesterol-free and fat-free.  Of course, dressing them up as we tend to do negates those attributes.

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