As Thanksgiving approaches, tables across the United States are adorned with a colorful array of dishes, each bearing a unique story of tradition and history. Among these, sweet potatoes stand out as a beloved and essential part of the Thanksgiving feast. Beyond their vibrant orange hue and delectable taste, sweet potatoes have secured a special place on our holiday tables for various reasons.
Check out this delicious recipe for sweet and savory glazed sweet potatoes.
- 3 lbs sweet potatoes
- Peeled, halved diagonally, cut into wedges
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp liquid aminos
- ¼ cup unsalted butter (or butter substitute)
- toasted sesame seeds for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Whisk brown sugar, vinegar, liquid aminos, and salt together in a large bowl.
- Add sweet potatoes; coat well.
- Spread mixture evenly in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish; dab butter over top.
- Roast sweet potato mixture in oven (once preheated) for 25 minutes.
- Stir the sweet potato mixture, roast for another 20-25 minutes until tender, stirring every 8 minutes.
- Remove sweet potato mixture from oven.
- Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
Why are sweet potatoes a Thanksgiving staple?
One of the main reasons sweet potatoes have become synonymous with Thanksgiving is their seasonal availability. Harvested in the fall, sweet potatoes are at their peak freshness and flavor during the Thanksgiving season. Their natural sweetness adds a comforting and satisfying element to the meal, making them an ideal accompaniment to savory dishes like turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.
Nutritionally dense, sweet potatoes offer a plethora of health benefits, making them a smart and wholesome choice for the Thanksgiving table. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, these tuberous roots contribute to the overall nutritional balance of the meal. The high levels of beta-carotene, which gives sweet potatoes their vibrant color, are particularly noteworthy for promoting eye health and bolstering the immune system.
The versatility of sweet potatoes also plays a key role in their popularity during Thanksgiving. From classic mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallow toppings to sweet potato casserole, there are countless ways to incorporate this nutritious vegetable into the holiday spread. Roasted, mashed, or baked, sweet potatoes lend themselves to a variety of culinary techniques, allowing for creativity in the kitchen and ensuring they can be enjoyed by all, regardless of personal taste preferences.
Furthermore, sweet potatoes have a rich history that aligns with the spirit of Thanksgiving. Indigenous to the Americas, sweet potatoes were a staple in Native American diets long before the arrival of the Pilgrims. By incorporating this native ingredient into the Thanksgiving feast, we pay homage to the diverse culinary heritage of the continent.
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