Sweet potatoes are a versatile and healthy snack. Whether you eat them baked or fried, you can enjoy their unique nutritional profile rich in Vitamin A to boost your immune system and improve your eyesight. However, most people find cutting sweet potatoes quite a challenge.
To cut sweet potatoes, wash them to remove any dirt. Peel the potato using a peeler and rewash. Cut the potato into 1/4-1/2 inch sections. Stack these sections and cut them lengthwise, so you have long planks of sweet potatoes. Dice the planks to make cubes. You can grate them or cut them into long strips for fries.
This article will show you how to cut sweet potatoes in cubes, wedges, julienne, and rounds. You'll also learn some exciting recipes for sweet potatoes for your next meal.
How to pick good sweet potatoes
Before you start cutting sweet potatoes, choose some good ones.
- Check for firmness: A sweet potato without any soft areas is good. If you press down on the skin, it should not dent. Choose potatoes that feel heavy in your hand for their size and appear smooth. A spongy-feeling potato means it is old or wasn't stored properly.
- Ensure it doesn't have green patches: Green patches on sweet potatoes indicate solanine, a toxin compound. While the green pigment (Chlorophyll) may be harmless, exposure to sunlight may increase the solanine levels, so it's best to throw the potato away.
- Inspect for bruises: Bruises on sweet potatoes will look brownish and smelly. You can cut out the affected part, but be sure to wash the exposed area before cooking.
- Avoid wrinkled potatoes: Wrinkled potatoes may have extra starch under the skin. Such potatoes will taste sweet, but they will have a gummy, sticky texture.
- Check for sprouts: While sprouts may be okay in sweet potatoes, they may change the dish's taste.
Tools you'll need to cut sweet potatoes.
The right tools will make cutting sweet potatoes more efficient.
- Sharp knife: A good chef's knife with a strong grip is essential for cutting any vegetable, especially sweet potatoes.
- Peeler: Peeling sweet potatoes is optional, but it will make cutting much easier. You can use a peeler or a knife to remove the outside layer.
- Wooden cutting board: The best wood for cutting boards should be durable, water resistant, and easy to maintain. For a good cutting surface, choose a board made from end-grain.
- Collecting bowl: You'll need one for collecting cut pieces.
How to wash sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes grow below the ground, which means they will have soil on the surface. Washing the potatoes will remove any dirt or bacteria.
Wash the potatoes under cold water to remove any dirt. If you need to, scrub them with a vegetable brush or potato cleaner. Use a spud brush to remove any soil from the skin.
Your hands can also remove dirt; hold the potato under running water and rub it with your hands for 30 seconds. You can also fill a bowl with cold water, add sweet potatoes, and swirl around to remove dirt and drain the water.
How to peel sweet potatoes
Once the potato is clean and dry, you can peel it. Use a sharp knife to peel the sweet potato. A new potato peeler may work better than some knives, especially for thick-skinned, sweet potatoes.
Alternatively, you can use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Either way, be careful not to pierce the potato, especially with a very sharp knife.
1. Hold the potato firmly with your less dominant hand and the vegetable peeler in your dominant hand. Ensure your fingers are out of the way of the peeler.
2. Draw the vegetable peeler from top to bottom, following the curve of the potato. With slight pressure, peel off the skin to expose the soft, white, or light yellow flesh.
3. Repeat around the whole potato, going to the last remaining piece of skin. Use a knife to finish removing any stubborn pieces of skin.
4. If you notice any black spots, use the tip of the knife to dig them out.
How to cut sweet potatoes
There are different ways to cut sweet potatoes. There is no set way, so it's up to you which method to use, depending on your recipe.
Follow these steps to create thin, even slices of sweet potato fries:
- Place the peeled sweet potato on a cutting board and cut off both ends to sit flat.
- Slice the potato in half lengthwise. If you're making fries from a large sweet potato, slice it into quarters.
- Stack both halves or quarters of the sweet potato together, then cut vertically into 1/4 inch equal-sized slices.
- Repeat on other sweet potatoes until you have as many slices as you like.
Cubes are a good shape for stews, stir-fries, soups, or casseroles. The best way to cut sweet potatoes into cubes is by first slicing the peeled potato into 1/4 inch slices like you would when preparing fries.
Place the 1/4 inch slices on the cutting board in stacks, then cut 1/4 inches horizontally to make cubes. If you want larger cubes, make the slices bigger, probably 1/2 inches or more, and cut the same size horizontally.
Wedges are good for specialty dishes, like desserts or salads. Follow these steps to create wedges:
- Remove both ends and slice in half lengthwise. Leave the skin on the sweet potato unless the recipe calls for it.
- Lay the sweet potato halves on the cutting board and cut each half lengthwise to make quarters.
- Repeat the same for each of the quarters. Ensure each piece is 1/4 or 1/2 inch wide.
- Add your recipe's ingredients to each piece, then cook them in whatever way you like.
Juliennes are thin, matchstick-like cuts that look great on salads or stir fry.
Follow these steps to create juliennes:
- Place the sweet potato on a cutting board and trim off the sides so the potato is flat on all sides.
- With one side of the sweet potato firmly on the cutting board, use a sharp knife to cut 1/8 inch slices.
- Stack the slices and cut them vertically to make 1/8 inch thick juliennes. You can cut the slices separately, though, if you think it will make the process easier.
- Continue making juliennes until you have as many as needed for the recipe.
Rounds are common in frittatas and baked dishes. Follow these steps to cut sweet potatoes into rounds:
- Trim one side of the sweet potato until it's flat enough to sit securely on the cutting board.
- Hold the sweet potato firmly with one hand and use a sharp chef's knife to cut thin slices from top to bottom. The slices should be about 1/4 inch thick.
Tips on cutting and preparing sweet potatoes
There are some tips you can use to help ease the process of cutting sweet potatoes.
- Peel the potato first before cutting it into pieces. This process may seem like it takes up extra time, but you'll save yourself some later since you won't have to remove the skin by hand after cooking.
- Always cut the peeled sweet potatoes in a single direction. Cutting in any other way will make them harder to handle.
- Use a large, sharp chef's knife for best results when cutting sweet potatoes. Always use your free hand to hold the potato steady while you cut it with your dominant hand.
- Practice makes perfect, so keep trying until you find the right technique for your taste.
- Once you finish cutting the sweet potato, place the pieces into a bowl of water. This step will prevent them from turning brown until you're ready to cook them.
Simple sweet potato recipe
Sweet potatoes make nutritious additions to many dishes. You don't need to be a professional chef to create some of the most common sweet potato recipes. Some simple recipes include:
Perfect baked sweet potato fries (35 minutes)
An easy-to-make yet delicious dish, baked sweet potato fries are good on their own but also perfect as a side to any meal. Enjoy the caramelized outer texture and tender inside of these oven-cooked fries. You can use any spices you'd like or even leave them plain for a more subtle taste.
Mexican roasted sweet potato cubes ( 25 minutes)
Turn a simple sweet potato dish into a Mexican fiesta with this recipe. The cubes are spicy and savory, a perfect addition to any Mexican meal. Enjoy them as a side, or add them to burritos, tacos, and salads for extra flavor. The garlic, extra spices, and lime juice coating add the perfect touch to these roasted cubes.
Rosemary sweet potato fries (45 minutes)
Julienne cut sweet potatoes and rosemary come together with a sprinkle of sea salt for these savory, mouthwatering fries. Enjoy their crispy texture and herbal flavor as a side or snack. You can also opt to smother these fries with your favorite sauce for even more flavor.
Cheese and bacon potato rounds (60 minutes)
These crispy, delicious rounds are a unique twist on traditional baked potatoes. Their rich texture and cheesy taste make them a perfect side to any dish or the show star with any sauce. Enjoy their savory taste and crispy texture with a dash of salt and pepper on top, or use sour cream for dipping.
FAQs on sweet potatoes
Why are sweet potatoes hard to cut?
Sweet potatoes are hard to cut because they comprise compacted tiny molecules that make them dense. Cutting through a sweet potato requires a sharp knife with the right cutting technique. You also need to use extra pressure alongside a sturdy cutting board to make sure your cuts are even.
Are sweet potatoes related to potatoes?
Sweet potatoes and potatoes are both root vegetables. However, they are of different families. Sweet potatoes are a part of the Convolvulaceae family, closely related to morning glories. Potatoes are from the Solanaceae family, home to tomatoes, eggplant, chiles, and jalapeno peppers.
What is the best knife to cut a sweet potato?
The best knife to cut a sweet potato is a chef's knife. A chef's knife is multifunctional, meaning that you can use it to slice and dice vegetables and meat. It's also longer than a paring knife, making it a better choice for cutting larger foods.
Understanding how to cut sweet potatoes is an essential skill for any cook or chef. Good knives are a must-have if you want to cut sweet potatoes effectively, but practice makes perfect. After a few times, you'll be cutting sweet potatoes like a pro.
Visit our store for high-quality chef knives that will suit your sweet potato cutting needs.