Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Shari Mason
Imagine a cozy holiday kitchen, the scent of sweet potatoes wafting through the air. It’s a familiar scene that takes me back to family gatherings.
Once, while preparing this beloved side dish, I stumbled upon an age-old practice: soaking sweet potatoes before baking.
So why do we soak sweet potatoes before baking? Let’s find out.
What’s The Purpose Of Soaking Sweet Potatoes Before Baking?
The purpose of soaking sweet potatoes before baking is to remove excess starch from their surface. Sweet potatoes  naturally contain starch; when you soak them, it helps release some of it into the water.
“Almonds, carrots, quinoa, soy products, vegetable oil, corn and corn oil, canola seeds used in canola oil, beets and beet sugar, sweet potatoes – these are just some of the foodstuffs which typically contain high levels of glyphosate.”– Erin Brockovich
This is particularly important when you want your sweet potatoes to turn crispy when baked. Starch can make the surface of sweet potatoes sticky, and removing it through soaking ensures that they crisp up nicely in the oven.
So, the next time you prepare sweet potato fries or wedges, remember that soaking is the secret to achieving that delightful crunch.
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How Long Should I Soak Them?
The ideal soaking time for sweet potatoes is usually around 30 minutes. During this time, the excess starch on the surface of the sweet potatoes will begin to dissolve into the water.
You might even notice the water becoming slightly cloudy, indicating that the starch is coming out.
While 30 minutes is a good rule of thumb, you can adjust the soaking time based on your preference and the specific recipe.
If you’re in a hurry, a shorter soak will still provide some benefits, but sticking to the 30-minute mark is a solid choice for the crispest results.
Can I Skip Soaking Sweet Potatoes?
Yes, you can skip soaking sweet potatoes before baking, especially if you need more time or are not aiming for an extra crispy texture. While soaking does enhance crispiness, it’s not a mandatory step.
Your sweet potatoes will still be delicious when baked without soaking, with their natural sweet and earthy flavor intact.
Does Soaking Affect The Flavor?
Soaking sweet potatoes before baking primarily affects their texture rather than their flavor. It doesn’t make your sweet potatoes taste different or bland.
You’ll still get that delightful, sweet, earthy flavor that makes sweet potatoes a beloved ingredient.
“Soaking sweet potatoes before baking is like giving them a refreshing pre-show dip before they step into the spotlight of your oven – it’s all about that extra crispiness and texture that makes them shine!”– Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice
So, whether you choose to soak them or not, rest assured that the delicious taste of sweet potatoes will shine through in your dishes.
It’s about achieving the desired texture, with the flavor remaining true to this beautiful root vegetable.
Is It Necessary For All Sweet Potato Dishes?
Soaking sweet potatoes before baking is most beneficial when you want a crispy texture, such as when making roasted sweet potato wedges, fries, or any preparation where a crispy exterior is desired.
However, it’s not necessary for all sweet potato dishes.
For recipes like casseroles , soups, or mashes where the texture isn’t crucial, you can skip the soaking step without sacrificing flavor.
The decision to soak or not should align with the specific outcome you want to achieve in your dish, so feel free to adjust based on your culinary goals and preferences.
Why don’t my sweet potatoes go crispy?
Sweet potatoes may not become crispy when baked due to a few factors. One common reason is excess moisture on the surface of the sweet potatoes.
It can hinder the crisping process if they’re not dried thoroughly before baking or if they release too much moisture while baking.
To achieve crispiness, consider using the soaking method to remove excess starch, dry the sweet potatoes well before baking, and ensure they’re spaced out on the baking sheet so they can roast evenly and develop that desired crunch.
Why are my baked sweet potatoes soggy?
Baked sweet potatoes can turn soggy if they release less moisture while cooking. This can happen if they are not thoroughly dried before baking, overcrowded on the baking sheet, or overcooked.
To prevent sogginess, pat them dry, give them enough space on the baking sheet to allow proper air circulation, and avoid overcooking by checking for doneness with a fork or knife.
Soaking sweet potatoes before baking is a simple yet effective technique to achieve a crispy and delightful texture in your dishes.
This step helps remove excess starch from the surface of the sweet potatoes, preventing them from becoming sticky and allowing them to crisp up beautifully in the oven.
While soaking isn’t mandatory for all sweet potato recipes, it’s a valuable trick to remember, especially when aiming for that perfect crunch in dishes like roasted sweet potato fries or wedges.
So, whether you choose to soak or not, understanding its purpose empowers you to create sweet potato dishes that suit your preferences.
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