Baking Okinawan purple sweet potatoes or our orange-fleshed ones results in a rich taste and smooth texture that melts in your mouth. Many Okinawans still enjoy “stone”-baked potatoes from vendors who sell them from little trucks. You can enjoy similar goodness by baking sweet potatoes in your oven. Using a pizza stone or cast-iron skillet will add the stone-baked touch.
4 medium sweet potatoes (about 10 ounces each)
Salt, for garnish
Ground cinnamon, for garnish
Position the rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
Line a cast-iron skillet or broiler pan with foil — or lay a sheet of foil on a pizza stone or a baking sheet and turn the foil up 1 inch on all sides to form a lip that can stop oozing juices.
Bake for 25 minutes, then turn the sweet potatoes over, protecting your hand with a pot holder or folded dry kitchen towel.
Continue baking until the sweet potatoes are soft to the touch, about 20 more minutes.
The longer the cooking time, the more the juice caramelizes next to the potato skin, which is the way many Okinawans like their baked potatoes.
Cool for a few minutes, then slit the skin lengthwise.
Although not necessary, you can garnish with a pinch of salt or ground cinnamon.
The Blue Zones Kitchen fuses scientific reporting, National Geographic photography and 100 recipes that may help you live to 100. The Blue Zones’ food tradition is going the way of the dodo bird, thanks to the encroachment of the American Food Culture.Learn More