This week was International Sweet Potato Week, which put the spotlight on sweet potatoes in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Poland. Importers, supermarkets and restaurants in these countries gave sweet potatoes some extra attention through recipes and special prices. The week-long recognition is an initiative of the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission and the American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute, designed to convince more consumers, chefs and culinary journalists to cook with sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes in Europe continue to grow in popularity. In 2014, imports rose 35 percent.
North Carolina ranks No. 1 in sweet potatoes, growing more than any other state. In fact, in 2014 North Carolina produced nearly 1.6 billion pounds of sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are often presented as a vegetable side dish or dessert. Below is a recipe from the 1989 Goodness Grows Cookbook that places sweet potatoes in the main dish.
Pork and Sweet Potato Stir-Fry
Cut pork diagonally into 1/4-inch thick slices. Peel sweet potatoes; cut into 1/8 by 1/2 by 1-inch strips. Stir fry pork, a small amount at a time, in hot oil in wok until pink color disappears. Remove to platter and sprinkle with salt. Add sweet potatoes and water to wok. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pork, onions and raisins; mix well. Stir in mixture of cornstarch and wine. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Fold in apples just before serving. Yields six servings with 391 calories per serving.