Sweet potatoes, a versatile food, contain generous amounts vitamin A and make a filling edition to a healthy diet. The root vegetable also serves as the principal ingredient in widely consumed American specialties such as sweet potato pie and sweet potato soufflee. Dense sweet potatoes have a thick, difficult-to-remove skin that make them frustrating to work with, especially given the amount of time it takes to cook them. Boiling provides a convenient way to remove the skin so your sweet potatoes can be eaten plain or added to more tasty dishes.
Wash the sweet potatoes under running water to remove excess dirt. Place them in a pot, the size of which varies depending on the number of sweet potatoes you plan to cook. Cover them with water.
Place the pot on the stove over high heat. Cover the pot and bring the sweet potatoes to a boil. After about 10 minutes, when the sweet potatoes have softened, remove the lid and puncture the sweet potatoes with a sharp paring knife to hasten the cooking process.
Re-cover the pot and let the sweet potatoes finish cooking for an additional 20 minutes, or until tender. A sweet potato is done when you can drive a knife straight through without resistance. When done, remove the pot from the heat and pour off the hot water. Cool the sweet potatoes by allowing them to sit in a colander. Alternatively, cool them by placing them under cold, running water.
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Slice into the sweet potato's skin, using the paring knife. Peel off the skin, similar to the way you would peel a banana. Alternatively, cut off the sweet potato's tip and scrape off the skin, using your knife.
The boiling process causes the thick skin to easily detach from the sweet potato.
Maya Black has been covering business, food, travel, cultural topics and decorating since 1992. She has bachelor's degree in art and a master's degree in cultural studies from University of Texas, a culinary arts certificate and a real estate license. Her articles appear in magazines such as Virginia Living and Albemarle.