Sweet potatoes, like the name implies, are a bit sweeter in flavor than their red, white or gold cousins. Sweet potatoes are also packed with vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber, making them a nutritious vegetable choice. Sweet potatoes are not just for enjoyment on Thanksgiving, and can be cooked in a variety of ways. Baking sweet potatoes is a popular, healthy and easy way to prepare the vegetable, and a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven helps dense sweet potatoes cook relatively quickly.
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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit while you prepare the potatoes.
Scrub the sweet potatoes with a vegetable brush and cold water. Remove any fiber-like eyes that may protrude from the vegetable. Pat the sweet potatoes dry with a paper towel.
Poke each potato several times with a fork. The small vent holes will prevent the sweet potatoes from exploding in the hot oven.
Wrap each sweet potato in aluminum foil if you prefer eating a softer skin, or keep the potato unwrapped to enjoy a crispier skin.
Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. When baking "naked" sweet potatoes in a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven, oozing of the potato's natural sugars may occur; use the baking pan to catch the drippings.
Place the sweet potatoes on the middle rack of the oven and set a kitchen timer for 40 minutes. Tubers on the small side may be tender and ready within this time frame; larger specimens could bake for up to an hour before they are tender.
Pierce the potato's skin with the fork to check for doneness; the potato's flesh should allow the utensil to slide in and out easily without resistance.
Cut open the baked sweet potatoes and season them with a variety of toppings, including margarine, cinnamon or salt.
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You can brush a light coating of olive oil onto the potato's skin to enhance its flavor and crunchiness if you desire.