An easy and quick way to cook a sweet potato is in the microwave. However, you may wonder if cooking food in the microwave depletes its nutritional value. So, does microwaving sweet potatoes destroy nutrients?
Microwaving sweet potatoes doesn’t destroy nutrients. Cooking them in the microwave reduces the cooking time by nearly 45 to 50 minutes while retaining their nutritional benefits. Microwaved sweet potatoes retain more water-soluble vitamins than those that are boiled or cooked using other methods.
Let’s look at this in closer detail now.
Benefits Of Microwaving Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a delicious and tasty alternative to regular potatoes.
These starchy vegetables are low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients.
They have a low glycemic index and are a rich source of beta-carotene and fiber.
They contain water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin B6, folate, and Vitamin C.
Sweet potatoes are incredibly versatile. You can enjoy them as fries, wedges, mash, or stuffing in various dishes.
These vegetables are generally boiled or baked.
One of the best ways to cook sweet potatoes is to microwave them. This method offers the following benefits.
1. Microwave Cooking Is Faster
Depending on the cooking method and the size of the sweet potato, you may have to cook them for at least ten minutes to make them tender.
However, you can save a lot of time by cooking them in the microwave.
Sweet potatoes will cook in less than ten minutes in the microwave. They will be tender and soft by this time.
2. Retains The Nutritive Benefits
According to the USDA, microwave cooking doesn’t generally destroy nutrients in food.
Hence, it’s one of the most efficient ways to cook vegetables without making them lose their nutritional quality.
When you boil or steam sweet potatoes on the stovetop, their water-soluble vitamins will leach into the surrounding water.
This doesn’t occur when you cook them in the microwave.
3. Doesn’t Affect The Flavor Or Texture
Microwave cooking helps sweet potatoes retain their original flavor and sweetness.
Since they don’t come into contact with moisture, their flavor remains intact.
Microwaving sweet potatoes makes them tender but not mushy. The flesh remains soft and firm.
Oven-cooking sweet potatoes is a good way to prepare sweet potatoes for mashing.
This method helps them retain their complex flavors and taste better.
4. Requires Less Preparation
It’s very easy to prep a sweet potato for microwave cooking.
The process involves a few simple steps like scrubbing and piercing the skin and cooking it in a microwave-safe container.
The entire task will take less than twenty minutes, by which time your sweet potatoes will be fully cooked and ready to use.
Is It Better To Boil Or Microwave Sweet Potatoes?
Irrespective of the cooking method, all vegetables lose some of their nutritional quality during cooking.
However, the faster you cook them, the fewer nutrients they lose.
Boiling involves submerging sweet potatoes in water and cooking them till they’re tender.
The process can take ten minutes or longer, depending on the size of the potatoes.
Boiled sweet potatoes are done when they’re soft, and you can insert a fork into their flesh without resistance.
Boiling sweet potatoes takes much longer than cooking in the microwave.
The potatoes will be ready much faster and taste good too.
When boiling these vegetables, remember that sweet potatoes are porous.
They absorb water from the surroundings and end up too mushy.
They lose their complex flavors when overcooked. This is more likely to happen when you boil them.
Microwave cooking gives you better control over the cooking process.
So you’re less likely to overcook sweet potatoes in the microwave.
With the proper settings, they will end up being firm but tender.
Another benefit of cooking sweet potatoes in the microwave is that it helps the vegetables retain their nutritional quality.
Sweet potatoes contain water-soluble vitamins that leach into the surrounding water during boiling.
You can prevent this to a great extent by limiting the cooking time and boiling them in a pot with a tight-fitting lid.
However, discarding the cooking water will make them lose their nutrients.
However, when you cook them in a microwave, they don’t come in contact with water.
So they don’t lose their water-soluble nutrients.
Does Microwaving Sweet Potatoes Change Their Taste And Texture?
Sweet potatoes are hard and dense in their raw form. It’s not easy to cut into their firm flesh.
Their thick skin will also not peel off easily.
When you heat sweet potatoes in the microwave, they cook in their internal moisture.
The flesh becomes soft and tender, and the potatoes develop a creamy texture.
Their sweet and savory flavors come to the forefront.
Depending on the type of potato, they may even have a spicy flavor.
Heat activates these complex flavors and makes the vegetable not just edible but also delicious.
How To Microwave Sweet Potatoes?
Before placing sweet potatoes in the microwave, you should prep them.
1. Preparing Sweet Potatoes For The Microwave
You don’t have to peel sweet potatoes for most recipes.
They will beautifully cook in their skin, and you can serve them whole or remove the tender flesh after cooking, based on your needs.
To prepare sweet potatoes, scrub the surface and remove the dirt.
Then, wash them well under running cold water and pat them dry to remove moisture.
The next step is to pierce the sweet potatoes all over.
Piercing the skin will allow the steam to escape, and the sweet potatoes will cook better.
You can use a fork or a thin sharp knife to prick the surface.
If you plan to serve the sweet potatoes whole, you may also like to season their skin.
The skin is a good source of fiber.
It becomes delicious and sweet when cooked and tastes better when properly seasoned.
You can use olive oil and seasonings like salt and pepper to season the skin of the sweet potatoes.
3. Cooking Sweet Potatoes In The Microwave
Place the sweet potatoes on a microwave-safe dish or pan and cook them at 100% power for five minutes.
Microwave in 1-minute bursts and turn the sweet potatoes over halfway through.
This will ensure that they cook evenly and don’t have any uncooked bits.
3. Check If It’s Cooked
Gently slide a knife or fork into its flesh to check if the sweet potatoes have cooked properly.
When they’re well done, they will not offer any resistance to the blade or fork.
You can remove them from the microwave oven at this stage.
Use oven mitts or tongs to transfer the sweet potatoes from the microwave.
Don’t touch them with your bare hands since they will be very hot at this stage.
4. Dress The Potatoes As Needed
You can add seasonings or herbs at this stage, and the flavors will infuse into their soft, tender flesh.
For a sweet twist, you can add butter, sugar, cinnamon, and spice.
You can also add savory seasonings, like herbs and other spices, if you prefer it that way.
To use the sweet potatoes as a mash or filling, gently remove their flesh and mash them up with a fork.