Save the skins — sweet spud peels included. Whether they’re red, purple, or sweet, there’s nothing more tedious than peeling potatoes. Luckily, there are several good reasons why you should start eating the skin on your sweet potatoes.
The origins of sweet potatoes, as noted by NPR, can be traced back to Ecuador and Peru. However, archaeologists have found prehistoric remnants of sweet potatoes in Polynesia from over a century ago. Typically, with brown flesh and orange flesh, sweet potatoes also come in purple, red, and yellow varieties. Just don’t confuse them with yams, the scaly brown tuber with scratchy and less than sweet white flesh that hails from Asia and Africa (via Serious Eats).
Available year-round, Bon Appétit advises taking advantage of sweet potatoes when they’re in season during late fall through winter. Choosing blemish-free spuds is also crucial if you plan to keep the skins. Sweet Potato USA also recommends storing the root vegetable in a cool, dark spot — not the fridge. That can cause sweet potatoes to develop a permanently hard center and affect the skin. But why do the skins matter?
The skins have insane fiber (and nutrient) levels
There are countless benefits to leaving the skins on sweet potatoes from both a culinary and a practical standpoint. The skins not only add texture, notes The Spruce Eats, but also an earthy flavor to enhance dishes. Not to mention that saving the skins also significantly reduces waste, according to The Kitchn.
However, the most impressive thing about sweet potato skins is their nutritional value. Vital to fiber intake, Eating Well explains that peeled sweet potatoes face a whopping 64% reduction of fiber compared to unpeeled potatoes. Although the interior of the sweet potatoes boasts the same nutrients, Livestrong reports that the skins hold more concentrated levels of vitamins and minerals like manganese, potassium, and vitamins like A, C, and E.
Ready to ditch the potato peeler? Delve into the tasty world of unpeeled sweet potato by checking out recipes that highlight skins like sweet potato chips, twice-baked potatoes, Hasselback spuds, or even crispy sweet potato skins!