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Why Are Sweet Potatoes So Hard To Cut

Why Are Sweet Potatoes So Hard To Cut? Answered (2023)

Last Updated on January 24, 2023 by Shari Mason

Sweet potatoes are versatile and nutritious root vegetables that many people worldwide enjoy. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, making them a healthy addition to any diet. 

However, despite their delicious taste and health benefits, many people find that cutting sweet potatoes can be a difficult task.

Let’s see some of the reasons why sweet potatoes can be so hard to cut and provide tips on how to make the task easier.

What Makes Sweet Potatoes So Hard To Cut?

a hand cutting Sweet Potatoes on a wooden board

Sweet potatoes are denser and harder than regular potatoes, making them difficult to cut through. Their density is due to a high starch content, which makes them more resistant to cutting. 

This is because the starch granules in sweet potatoes [1] are larger and more tightly packed than those in regular potatoes, making the flesh of the sweet potato dense.

Additionally, sweet potatoes have tough skin that can also be difficult to remove. The skin of a sweet potato is thicker and more fibrous than a regular potato’s.

This can make it more challenging to peel the skin off, especially if the sweet potato is not cooked or if it is not cooled before peeling. 

This can add an extra layer of difficulty when cutting into the vegetable, as the skin can be tough and unyielding, making it harder to get a clean cut.

The combination of density and tough skin can make cutting sweet potatoes challenging.

How Can You Make Cutting Sweet Potatoes Easier?

One way is first to soften them up. You can do this by microwaving the sweet potatoes for a few minutes before attempting to cut them. This will help to make the flesh softer and easier to cut through. 

Another way is to use a sharp knife when cutting sweet potatoes, as a dull knife will make the task more difficult. A sharp knife can easily cut through the sweet potato’s dense flesh and tough skin. 

“Purchase items that can be made into several meals, like a whole roasted chicken, or bag of sweet potatoes, and shop the periphery of the grocery store, avoiding the middle aisles full of processed and higher-priced foods.”

– Cat Cora, Chef

Additionally, it is important to have a clean, stable, dry cutting surface, a good grip on the sweet potato, and a good balance to avoid accidents. 

Some people also find it helpful to cut the sweet potato in half or smaller sections before cutting it into smaller pieces, as this can make it easier to handle and control.

Are There Any Specific Techniques For Cutting Them?

sweet potatoes and herbs on a countertop

One technique is to remove the skin using a peeler or a sharp knife. Removing the skin first can make cutting through the sweet potato’s flesh easier. 

Another technique is to use a steady and consistent motion when slicing the sweet potato into the desired shape. This will help to prevent any accidents while cutting. 

Additionally, cutting the sweet potato in half or smaller sections before cutting it into smaller pieces can make it easier to handle and control.

Using a mandoline [2] slicer or a guide to slice the sweet potatoes evenly can also help to obtain uniform slices. 

Always use caution and pay attention to your fingers when cutting sweet potatoes to avoid accidents.

What Are Some Other Ways To Prepare Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes can be prepared in various ways, such as baking, boiling, or steaming, which can be a great alternative to cutting them.

Baking sweet potatoes in the oven can be a simple and easy way to prepare them, bringing out their natural sweetness. 

Boiling sweet potatoes in a pot of water can also be an easy way to prepare them, and it’s also a great way to cook them for sweet potato puree or mashed sweet potatoes.

Steaming is another great option, which will preserve the sweet potatoes’ nutrients and color. 

Roasting or grilling are also ways to prepare sweet potatoes. This will add a nice crisp texture and a smoky flavor to them.

They can also be raw, grated, or spiralized for salads and smoothies. These methods can be less challenging than cutting them and also can make them more delicious.

FAQs

Why is my sweet potato tough?

One reason could be that it is not fully ripe yet. Sweet potatoes should be harvested when fully mature and left to cure before being consumed. They can be tough and not as sweet if consumed before they are fully ripe.

Why won’t my sweet potatoes get soft?

Your sweet potatoes may not be getting soft for several reasons, such as they are not fully mature or undercooked. The variety of sweet potatoes you cook is naturally denser and drier than others. 

How long should I boil sweet potatoes to soften them for cutting?

The time required to boil sweet potatoes to soften them for cutting varies depending on the size and thickness of the sweet potatoes.

On average, it takes about 20-25 minutes for small to medium-sized sweet potatoes to become tender when boiled. Larger sweet potatoes may take up to 30-40 minutes.

Key Takeaways

Cutting sweet potatoes can be a difficult task due to their density and tough skin. 

However, the task can be made much easier by understanding the reasons behind the difficulty of cutting them and using specific techniques, such as softening them up, using a sharp knife, and cutting them into smaller sections. 

Additionally, there are various ways to prepare sweet potatoes that can be less challenging, such as baking, boiling, steaming, roasting, grilling, or eating them raw. 

Special tools like a mandoline slicer or spiralizer can also help cut sweet potatoes and make them more fun. 

With a little bit of knowledge and effort, cutting sweet potatoes can be a manageable task that will allow you to enjoy their delicious taste and nutritional benefits.

References:

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/281438
  2. https://www.seriouseats.com/what-are-the-best-cheap-mandoline-vegetable-fruit-slicers
Shari Mason

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