Sure, buying pre-cut sweet potatoes can be a time saver. But you can buy whole sweet potatoes (usually for less money) and prepare them ahead of time.
If you're peeling and cubing sweet potatoes in preparation for a larger meal or dish, it's important to soak them in water in the refrigerator to prevent them from drying out and keep them ready to use.
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Wondering how far in advance you can peel sweet potatoes? You can peel and cut sweet potatoes and store them in the fridge for up to 24 hours in advance for easier meal prep, according to the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University. To do this, place the raw, cut sweet potatoes in a bowl of water — covered — in the fridge to keep them fresh.
How to Meal-Prep Peeled and Cubed Sweet Potatoes
Things You'll Need
Whole sweet potatoes
Scrub brush (optional)
Large, sharp knife
Peeler or small knife
1. Wash the Sweet Potatoes
No matter the type of sweet potatoes you're preparing, before you peel them, wash them with water. If you use a scrub brush, you will remove excess dirt and grime, making it easier to peel the potatoes themselves.
This step is critical no matter what dish you're preparing, whether it's roasted sweet potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato casserole or a regular old baked sweet potato.
You don't have to peel sweet potatoes in order to eat them — whether you choose to or not may very well depend on the recipe you're preparing. If you're making sweet potato fries, you can choose to leave the skin on or peel it off before roasting — it's all about your personal preference.
Eating a sweet potato with the skin on will increase the amount of fiber you take in, according to the Mississippi Sweet Potato Council. Just make sure to scrub and clean thoroughly.
2. Peel the Sweet Potatoes
Grab one potato and a peeler, pushing firmly with the blade along the exterior of the potato until you have removed the outer layer of the skin. Continue to peel the potato with a peeler until there is no skin left.
You can also use a small knife to peel the potato if you don't have a peeler.
If you're boiling a whole sweet potato, you can choose to peel it either before or after it hits the water (or not at all!). Peeled sweet potatoes will cook faster, but the skin will be easier to remove (you'll likely be able to strip it off with your fingers) once the potato is cooked, per the U.S. Sweet Potato Council.
Of course, if you choose to remove the skin of the potato after it boils, make sure the veggie is cool enough to touch before you do.
3. Cut Sweet Potatoes Into Cubes
Once you have peeled your potatoes, you can cube them using a sharp knife. Place the sweet potato on the cutting board, holding one side of the potato with your free hand to keep the potato stable.
The Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts recommends squaring off the ends and four sides of the potato to make it rectangular — an easier shape to cut. Make several parallel cuts along the potato, cutting the potato lengthwise.
Turn the potato one-quarter turn and make another series of lengthwise cuts. Hold these pieces together with your free hand while you slice perpendicular to the first two series of cuts. Cutting in these two directions will get you sweet potato cubes.
4. Store Your Potatoes Safely
After you've peeled and cubed your sweet potatoes, you can either cook them immediately or preserve them overnight.
Peeled sweet potatoes need to be refrigerated if you don't intend to cook them right away. When storing peeled sweet potatoes in the fridge, place them in a bowl of cold water. Dry them off with a paper towel to further reduce bacteria before cooking them, per the FDA.
If you are cooking them right away, you can simply place them on an oven tray with olive oil, salt and pepper, or add them to a pan and sautée with meat or use them in any other sweet potato recipes. Or, you may choose to boil sweet potatoes first to speed up the cooking process.
- National Center for Home Food Preservation: "Selecting, Preparing and Canning Vegetables"
- Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts: "How to Cube a Potato"
- FDA: "Selecting and Serving Produce Safely"
- Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University: "Purchasing, storing and preparing potatoes"
- Mississippi Sweet Potato Council: "A Nutritious Vegetable - The Sweet Potato"
- U.S. Sweet Potato Council: "About Sweet Potatoes"
- Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts: "How to cube a potato"
- FDA: "Selecting and Serving Produxe Safely"