I have an affinity for freshly baked muffins. At the very inkling of dawn, I love to turn on the oven, assemble ingredients, and mix up a batch of muffins. The kind of muffin varies, and is highly dependent upon the ingredients on hand. Frozen wild blueberries or raspberries are family favorites, along with chopped apple, pumpkin and squash.
Leftover baked sweet potatoes from supper inspired me to try this recipe for Sweet Potato Muffins.
The sweet potato entered our food stream some 5000 years ago in Central and South America. Rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber and beta-carotene, the tubers have deep orange flesh and pink skin. Traditionally a crop grown in warmer climes, Beauregard and Mahon Yam are two varieties cultivated by Maine farmers.
Unlike sweet potatoes available in the supermarket that have a relatively short shelf life, these tubers are excellent keepers. The secret is in “curing”; a process where after harvest the excess soil is brushed from the roots and they are cured in a warm (85 degrees F) and dark place for 10 to 14 days to toughen the skin.
Once cured, these potatoes will easily keep until spring in a relatively cool location (55 – 60 degrees), that is not too dry. I have had success storing my sweet potatoes in an unheated guest bedroom, a corner closet, even in a wooden box under the bed.
Unfortunately the delicious taste of sweet potatoes is often overpowered in a casserole with marshmallows. My favorite way to prepare these orange tubers is by scrubbing the skin, piercing the flesh several times with a fork, and baking them on a pan in a 400-degree oven. When the juices start to ooze from the skin (and onto the pan not the oven), they are done.
Peeling just baked sweet potatoes is a challenge, because they get hot, really hot. As the potatoes cool, the flesh drops away from the skin, and it is easier to peel off.
The warm, spicy fragrance from baking these muffins perfumes the house. Sweet enough for breakfast, or a nice savory addition to a festive lunch, sweet potato muffins freeze well and are a welcome addition to the lunch box.