Gilmer, TX -- Home of the East Texas Yamboree Festival
Golden, TX -- Home of the Golden Sweet Potato Festival

Did you know that sweet potatoes are one of Oprah's favorite foods. She said so in her show "The Best of Everything," which first aired October 28, 2004. It was a great show. If you missed it, you can still read what was said about Golden Sweet Potatoes.

Greetings Friends:

My name is Tex Tater and I represent the State of Texas and the Golden Sweet Potato Festival held annually in Golden. The Festival is scheduled annually in  the later part of October in downtown Golden.

Tex is my name and sweet potatoes are my game. Did you know that the sweet potato has an exciting history over 4,000 years old? It has been used for food since prehistoric times in tropical America and on some South Pacific Islands. At one time, sweet potatoes were an important component of the Aztec diet. See below for two of my favorite recipes and meet my children, Bubba and Sissey Tater.

Sweet potatoes were discovered in Central America upon the search for gold and are often referred to as "gold nuggets" due to their considerable nutritional and monetary value. So valuable in fact, that they named a city after them. Actually, in 1882 the town of Golden was named after John C. Golden, the MK&T Railroad engineer in charge of constructing the areas section of tracts. I just think it's ironic that instead of finding gold they found sweet potatoes. Then along came a man named Golden, for whom they named the city, which produces a lot of "golden" sweet potatoes.

It is thought that Columbus found the native Americans growing the root in the West Indies and probably brought the new food to Europe during the 16th century, before the Pilgrims arrived in the 17th century and the English settlers established their farms here in the 18th century. The vegetable became indispensable to the settlers, for it was often their only means of sustenance. Sweet potatoes provided a staple food during the trying times of the American Revolution (1776-1783) and the Civil War (1861-1865). A colonial physician wrote "Sweet potatoes were often prescribed, especially for children because of their value in combating childhood nutritional diseases."

Sweet potatoes are a perennial tropical vine related to the morning glory family. The stems are usually long and trailing with generally heart-shaped (edible) leaves with beautiful rose-violet or pink, trumpet or funnel shaped flowers.

Is it a "Yam", or a "Sweetpotato"? Yams do not grow in this country. Growers and processors use the word "yam" as a trademark. The terms are often used to distinguish between the dry and moist varieties of sweet potatoes. The Jersey variety is a dry type of sweet potato whereas the Centennial, Jewel and other more moist varieties are often referred to as yams.

"The Joy of Cooking With Sweet Potatoes," a Christian Publication, is currently being developed with information provided by the Center For Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Washington, DC who rated the sweet potato as the #1 vegetable in nutrition, the Sweet Potato Council of the U.S., Inc. and the Commissions, Councils and/or Associations; Departments of Agriculture; and Universities of the twelve sweet potato growing states (AL, AR, CA, GA, LA, MS, NJ, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA) and processing companies and some individuals. I've also searched the world over for foreign information and recipes, which has been included. While some people are out searching for "true love," I'm searching the world for everything pertaining to sweet potatoes.

This book will contain valuable detailed information of the sweet potato as well as nutritional information outlining the benefits of eating a healthy diet that includes sweet potatoes. You will learn just about everything there is to know about the vegetable. It will be chocked full of interesting facts as well as fun ideas and more recipes than you can imagine. I guarantee they will tantalize the taste buds of you and your family for many enjoyable years to come. You'll definately want a copy of this book if you love sweet potatoes, are concerned about your health and appreciate their extremely high nutritional value.

It's very important to know that a percentage of all proceeds generated by the sale of this publication will automatically be donated to The Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation, Bethesda, MD. Cancer is the #1 cause of death by disease in children. A special "Children's Chapter", dedicated to parents and children with cancer, is being developed and will contain actual "kid tested" recipes as well as other important information. Your support or donation to The Candlelighters Childhood Diseases Foundation or your purchase of the book "The Joy of Cooking With Sweet Potatoes" will make a difference in the life of a child who is faced with the life threatening disease of Cancer.

Sweet Potatoes & Nutrition

Calorie counters do not have to shy away from sweet potatoes. Despite its sweet taste, each 3.5 oz. serving contains only 141 calories, less than a glass of whole milk. Even with a teaspoon of butter, the total number of calories is under 200 and yet this same serving is packed with over 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin A and over one-third of the RDA of Vitamin C. It also contains Iron, Thiamine, Riboflavin and Phosphorus. The sweet potato is high in Beta-Carotene, a form of Vitamin A, which is believed to help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

Selection & Handling

When buying sweet potatoes, select those that are round and firm. Handle them carefully to prevent bruising.

Store sweet potatoes in a cool place with temperatures between 55 and 60 degrees. DO NOT REFRIGERATE. Storing sweet potatoes in temperatures below 55 degrees will chill this tropical vegetable, giving it a dry, hard core and an undesirable taste.

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Clean uniform sized sweet potatoes with warm water and a vegetable brush, trim off any bruised or woody portions and carefully pat dry. Sweet potatoes can be microwaved but puncture them with a fork first to prevent bursting. Or, rub a small amount of oil or shortening over the skin. Sweet potatoes that are greased prior to baking peel easily. Place on baking sheet and bake at 400 degree (preheated) for 15 minutes; reduce temperature to 375 degrees F. and bake for an additional 45 minutes or until tender. Gently squeeze the sweet potato. It is done if it feels soft.

The Tater Children

(Texas Sweet Potato Council & Department of Agriculture)

2 cups Texas Sweet Potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  mashed 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened 1 (9") unbaked pastry shell
  condensed milk 1 cup heavy whipped cream
2 eggs, at room temperature 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt whipped cream for garnish
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon pecans for garnish

Combine sweet potatoes, milk, eggs, salt and spices and beat until smooth. Pour mixture into pastry shell and bake at 425 degrees F. (preheated) for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F. (preheated) and bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool and garnish with whipped cream and chopped nuts. Refrigerate before serving.

(Texas Sweet Potato Council, Yantis, TX)

2 cups flour 1/4 cup instant tea granules
2 teaspoons baking powder 1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt 2 cups fresh Texas Sweet Potatoes,
1 egg, beaten  grated
1/2 cup sugar 3/4 cup pecans, chopped

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together; set aside. Combine egg, sugar, tea granules, oil and buttermilk and mix well. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and gently stir in egg mixture. Add sweet potatoes and pecans. Pour mixture into two (1 lb.) coffee cans. Cover with aluminum foil and secure with heavy duty rubber bands. Set containers on rack in heavy duty pot and fill half of pot with boiling water. Return to a gentle boil. Cover pot and steam for 1 hour and 30 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Gently remove bread from cans and cool. Spread with orange cream cheese (recipe follows). Tex Tater and Texans loves tea (see* below) and Tex hopes you like his bread recipe.

Orange Cream Cheese
2 (3 oz.) packages cream cheese 2 teaspoons orange juice
1-1/2 teaspoons orange rind, grated 2 tablespoons pecans or walnuts, chopped
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add orange rind and orange juice and blend well. Stir in pecans or walnuts

Good news for tea drinkers!  According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1997;66;261-266), tea "real tea from tea plants {not herbal mixtures} contains flavonoids, known to control the development of "bad" cholesterol {LDL} and prevent it from adhering to artery walls.


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