Celebrating sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes and apples make for the perfect fall anytime dish.

Sweet potatoes and apples make for the perfect fall anytime dish. by Sarah Henning

October is pretty tuber-tubular, according to the local farm set.

A group of area farmers, foodies, restaurants and stores have banded together to make October “Celebrate Sweet Potatoes” month in Lawrence, even going so far as getting the City Commission to give the orange spud its own month.

The group set up a website, celebratesweetpotatoes.com, and filled it with information on events, “Tuber Tuesday” sweet potato specials and facts about the different types of potatoes and their stellar nutritional value.

Hoyland Farm’s Bob Lominska says the idea really is just to get local eaters out of the idea that sweet potatoes are strictly for eating with marshmallows at Thanksgiving.

If you’ve followed this space for the past few years, you know I’m quite the sweet potato fan and feature them often in my recipes and the recipes I share. As part of my own personal mini celebration of sweet potatoes, I went back through my recipes and found some of my favorites, and thought I’d also share a recipe I haven’t yet that pairs two of my favorite fall staples.

But first, some of my personal favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes include:

Done up with gingerAs the base for currySimply roasted

Now, for a new recipe. I love this dish from Nancy O’Connor’s “Rolling Prairie Cookbook” because it’s pretty and pretty versatile. It really is both a side dish and a dessert (I’ve even had it for breakfast). If that sounds like it could be a description of the old marshmallow-covered sweet potatoes of yore, think again. This one has the added bonus of apples and makes your kitchen smell like that homey scent Yankee Candle only thinks it gets right.

Oh, and even though October is almost over, there’s obviously nothing wrong with keeping the tuber-tubular train rolling well into spring.

Sweet Potato and Apple Bake 2 or 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced approximately 1/4-inch thick

2 flavorful fall apples, peeled and sliced approximately 1/4-inch thick (I used Granny Smith and didn’t peel them)

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup maple syrup or honey

1/4 cup apple cider

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Oil a large shallow baking dish. Arrange sweet potato and apple slices attractively in dish.

Combine butter, maple syrup or honey, cider and salt in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until butter is melted.

Pour half of the mixture over the sweet potatoes and apples. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. Halfway through the baking, drizzle the remaining butter/syrup mixture over the sweet potatoes and apples. Serves 6.

— Recipe from “Rolling Prairie Cookbook” by Nancy O’Connor

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