Make Your Sweet Potatoes Tastier By Simply Letting Them Sit

Sweet potatoes are having a moment, and we're here for it. This versatile vegetable can be cooked in so many different ways, and while it does have the word "sweet" in it, it's just as good prepared savory. With over 400 varieties, the ones we are most familiar with in the U.S. are the Beauregard potato, the jewel, and the garnet (via Serious Eats). While all are pretty similar in appearance, the Beauregard is best for mashing, the jewel is best for baking or boiling, and the garnet variety is best for both mashing and baking. When it comes to sweet potatoes, storing them properly is essential if you want to avoid them rotting or sprouting into a full-on house plant.

According to Glad, sweet potatoes' lives can be prolonged for up to six months when stored unwashed in a well-ventilated, dry, dark, and cool space, away from other vegetables. While you might assume the refrigerator would be an ideal place to keep them, Allrecipes says this causes them to harden, ruining the flavor. Conversely, the longer you leave your sweet potatoes out in the appropriate conditions, the tastier they become.

This makes them sweeter and creamier

According to Food & Wine, when sweet potatoes are stored in a cool, dry place for 30-60 days, this allows the starches to break down into sugars. When this happens, not only is the flesh of the sweet potato sweeter, but the texture becomes much creamier. For an extra boost, try storing them wrapped in banana leaves, tobacco leaves, and even hay for an additional flavor character. 

If you want this result without the wait, Glad suggests curing those sweet taters. Depending on where you live, you may need a greenhouse or solarium to accomplish this, as it requires you to store your sweet potatoes in a room that's about 80 degrees Fahrenheit with 90% humidity. But if you can manage this, instead of waiting months for your sweet potatoes, this method will take only one to two weeks. The curing helps the potatoes develop a skin that acts as a barrier against bruising, and the toasty environment allows the inside to become sweeter in a shorter amount of time. Whatever method you go with, build up your sweet potato stores, and get ready to make even better sweet potato pies, sweet potato casseroles, and candied yams!