A reader just reminded me that the Sweet Potato Capital of the world is located a mere 40 miles from my hometown. Vardaman (Mississippi) sweet potatoes, the healthiest spuds on the planet, have earned a reputation for the sweetest in the world. They are especially partial to north Mississippi soil which spawns a huge percentage of the nation’s fall sweet potato crop.
I promised to post my world class sweet potato casserole, but first let me issue an invitation to join me at the Sweet Potato Festival scheduled for the tiny community of Vardaman October 26- November 8. That’s where you will need to travel in order to be named a bonafide Sweet Potato Queen.
Most of the activities including the Sweet Potato Pie Eating contest, the arts and crafts festival and the tastings are set for Saturday, November 1. However there will be a sweet potato recipe contest on November 8. In case you’re already busy that day, please send me your favorite sweet potato recipe so I can publish it. You could be a winner here too, you know.
Here’s the thing. I’m not crazy about sweet potatoes – I think my great granddaddy might have been a yankee. So I’m always looking for ways to use them to create something other than sweet potatoes!
Here’s the best use of a sweet potato I ever tasted, and it takes very little cooking since it calls for canned yams. (We can argue the merits of the sweet potato vs. the Yam another time.) I first sampled this winner at a Thanksgiving potluck and talked the cook into sharing the recipe. Since then, my boys ask if I’m serving it before they commit to coming home for the holidays.
I actually served it as a dessert for a dinner party one year, but technically it’s a sweet potato casserole.
1 29-ounce can yams
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 T. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
1 stick butter
1 box yellow cake mix
Drain and mash potatoes and mix with milk, sugar, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla. Of course you may also use cooked sweet potatoes. Place in 9 by 13 casserole dish (or something similar) and sprinkle cake mix on top. You won’t need the whole box so save about one third for another use. Cover with pecans and drizzle melted butter over top. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
Note: Sweet potatoes are the ultimate health food, and they’re not just for Thanksgiving. These moist, orange-fleshed tubers provide a powerful antioxidant effect. They contain lots of vitamins A, C, and B6. The sweet potato is thought to be “anti-diabetic” due to animal studies which showed that the vegetable helped to stabilize blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance.
Okay I shared….Now who out there has another good one that’s passed your family’s taste test.