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Bento Recipes: Baked sweet (or regular) potatoes

 
   
 

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Can you bake a potato? then you can bake a sweet potato. It's almost exactly the same. Just wash it, poke holes in the skin as vents, then bake it in the oven or microwave. I find it takes less time for a sweet potato than it does for a baking potato of the same size, so a small one will take about 4 minutes and a large one about 6.  I divide the time in half, and turn the potato upside-down in the middle so one side won't harden.

I find sweet potatoes tasty enough to eat by themselves. Others like to put butter on them. Without butter they're filling and quite low in calories!

Purple sweet potato - beauty on the inside, not the outsideIf you have the chance, try Japanese sweet potatoes. They have slightly purplish skins, and the insides are whitish yellow. They have a distinctive flavor, and a firmer texture than regular sweet potatoes. They may take a minute or two longer to cook than their orange brethren. And if you want something that looks really funky, try Okinawan yams, which are not yams at all but purple sweet potatoes. The skins are pale, and the flesh is vivid purple (see the photo on the right). They taste pretty much like regular Japanese sweet potatoes.

Oh, yeah - if you can bake a sweet potato, you can bake a regular potato. Just as above, except a little longer. An average russet will take about 8 minutes, and small ones 4-5 minutes. I've even baked fingerling potatoes; those are just right for a bento box. 3 minutes for those.

A fun way to package sweet potato is to mash it, then, using plastic wrap, squeeze it into a little sphere the size of a golf ball. This works better with Japanese or purple sweet potatoes than it does with orange ones because the flesh is firmer.