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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sweet Potatoes & French Bread Revisited

Alona, of the US Potato Board's new blog, The Potato Underground wrote me a lovely email after visiting my blog. She invited me to try out some of their recipes and share them with my readers. Well now, potatoes have to be one of our most favourite vegetables so how can I refuse an offer like that. I will be adding a link to their blog in my side bar. Please check back for some of their recipes and my report on them in future.

I love stopping at the farmer's market any time of the year but during the fall there is always an abundance. The one I frequent is a small, family owned market. They grow most of the produce themselves. They also have a nice freezer section and local crafts. Yesterday I stopped there and gosh did I ever get some good deals: 3 lb stuffer mushrooms, 1 lb portabellos, 2 huge sweet potatoes (2.75 lb & just shy of 4 lb), 2 large rutabagas, 20 lb large cooking onions, medium cabbage, 1.75 lb bananas and 9 kg (20 lb) bag of bird seed all for $23.37.

Sweet Potatoes

Many people use the terms yams and sweet potatoes interchangeably. In fact, the sweet potatoes were labelled as yams at the farmers market. However, yams and sweet potatoes are two different, unrelated vegetables. Yams are tubers of the tropical vine Dioscorea batatas. They have brown or black skin that resembles the bark of a tree with off-white, purple or red flesh. Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are yellow or orange tubers that have elongated ends tapering to a point. The yellow skinned sweet potato has a pale yellow flesh that is not as sweet with a dry, crumbly texture. The orange skinned variety is often called a yam. It has a thicker, dark orange to reddish skin. The flesh is a vivid orange with a sweet flavour and moist texture. Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber and vitamins A, C and B6.

The sweet potatoes were enormous! I couldn't resist so bought two. One was 2.75 lb and the other just shy of 4 lbs. I decided to can some of the sweet potatoes, have some for dinner, perhaps keep enough out for sweet potato pie and freeze the rest. The canning method follows the stock canning method.

Canned Sweet Potatoes & Chicken Stock

Homemade stocks are incredibly easy to make and inexpensive. Their taste is well worth the effort! There are no preservatives, MSG or extra salt, just a nice, rich meat flavour. Stocks are made using the bones and broths are made using the meat. They can be defatted or left as is. Either can be canned for a convenient, ready to use pantry item or frozen so be sure to make lots and keep on hand. Think beyond chicken stock as well. Other stocks to have on hand include fish, beef, turkey, pork ,mushroom, vegetable and game (venison, etc). Save the bones until you have enough to make a big batch of stock. This batch of chicken stock was from the left-overs and bones of the chicken I canned the day before. I ended up with 5 - 1 L (quarts)* jars of partially defatted stock.

Note: I put the Canadian measurement first followed in brackets the American measurement for canning instructions.

Canning Stocks
Make your favourite stock or use my basic chicken stock recipe. Ladle the hot stock into hot 500 ml (pint) or 1 L (quart) jars leaving ½ - inch headspace. Wipe the rims and adjust two piece lids. Process 500 ml (pint) 20 minutes, 1 L (quart) 25 minutes at 10 lb pressure.

Canning Sweet Potato

Wash sweet potatoes. Cut into 1 - inch strips and peel. Cut across the strips to form 1 - inch chunks. Place the sweet potatoes into a large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. Pack the hot sweet potatoes into wide mouth 500 ml (pint) jars leaving 1 - inch headspace. Cover with boiling water leaving 1 - inch headspace. Add 1/4 tsp salt if desired. Wipe rims. Adjust two piece lids. Process 65 minutes at 10 lb pressure.


French Bread

I've been fine tuning the French Bread recipe using the KitchenAid® stand mixer. I find a longer knead time produces better results as you can see from this batch of bread. This is a recipe I've used several times in the breadmaker then modified to use the stand mixer. I have to tell you the results with the stand mixer are far superior to dough made in the breadmaker.

Dinner

I bought two of the family sized packages of chicken thighs on sale at Meijer's. Last night we grilled the other package of ten thighs. The intention was using some for dinner and the rest deboned then sliced for freezing. The thighs were grilled then glazed with Dianna Sauce during the last 15 minutes. They were served with steamed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes and French bread. It wasn't an exactly low carb meal but it was low fat. Both potatoes were lightly seasoned with a little butter and sea salt allowing their natural flavours to shine. It sure was quite a tasty meal!


8 food lovers commented:

tweezle said...

Yummmy! I'll be right over for dinner :) GG - your article is fantastic, and really never thought of canning sweet potatoes. This is great, because we are planning on ordering sweet potato slips next spring for the garden. Hopefully we'll have enough to can. Thank you!

Paradis Family~ said...

I have been coming and reading lots of things on your site and learning to can.I have made Jam & jelly since lurking around your site.I wanted to say and I love your site.You are teaching me alot!

Maleesa(Paradis Family~)

Anonymous said...

I have a love hate relationship with your blog. I love to come here and see what you make, but I hate it that we can't taste all the yummy food you make...LOL

Garden Gnome said...

Hi tweezle :) You are quite welcome! Sweet potatoes not only can well but you can make sweet potato French fries, chips and they dry well too. I always mash some up and freeze in muffin tins for individual servings too. Good luck on growing them.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Maleesa! Thanks for visiting my blogs. I'm pleased to hear you are learning to can. It can be a lot of fun. I'm happy to hear that you are enjoying my blog as well. I have a lot of fun taking pictures of the foods I cook then making the entries so it is always nice to hear others like my blog.

Take care and happy canning!

Garden Gnome said...

Anonymous, if it is any consolation, my husband and kids who can be my worst critics get the full effect of all the yummy food. I've always thought that smell-o-vision would be a good invention.

Anonymous said...

Can you can mashed or pureed sweet potatoes? I freeze these but would like to can if that is an option. Thanks - you are the greatest!

S. Simmons

Garden Gnome said...

Anonymous, according to the USDA, sweet potatoes should be cubed for canning. You can puree or mash after opening the home canned jar.