Sweet Potato Pancakes (Fresh Food Fridays)

Welcome back to Fresh Food Fridays everyone! I hope you all have been enjoying the great outdoors here in Gainesville since we’re having such a mild and sunny winter week. One of the lovely things about Gainesville (aside from our lovely local food) is that there’s so many beautiful parks and trails for all of us to enjoy when the occasionally insane Florida weather decides to be perfect.

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Paynes Prairie this Wednesday

When it’s in the sixties and sunny in February, not only are we eager to enjoy Mother Nature again, but we should also be excited about the end and beginning of the growing season. Right now my CSA share is on a break, because the farm is transitioning from the fall season to spring season with their crops, so basically it’s the most wonderful time of the year for all of us who grow plants!

The end of the growing season means saying goodbye to some of the staples that have been available throughout the winter. I’m starting to see less hardy winter veggies at the markets and more spring greens, berries, herbs and other warmer weather crops. Purple sweet potatoes are one of the treasures in my CSA share that I won’t see much more of once it’s hot out, since they are harvested and replanted at the beginning of spring. Some places they can be grown year round, but a new season means new varieties are on the way. Eating seasonally means that you have to adjust to new recipes every so often, and give up certain ingredients.

Some see this as a sacrifice of living sustainably, but we just see seasonal diets as part of what accompanies co-existing in harmony with Mother Nature. However, when you experience how amazing a local, in season, spring strawberry is as one of these new varieties, the adjustment is well worth it!

Purple sweet potatoes are mildly sweet, but also extremely healthy — much better for you than the common potato. The local, organic purples in my CSA are quite the treat. These potatoes are a great source of antioxidants, just like other deep purple veggies like beets and eggplant. They are also one of the best sources of vitamin A, which is beneficial for eye function. If you have a sweet tooth, no matter how you cook these, if you throw some honey and maybe cinnamon on there, you have a sweet superfood treat that beats the junk.

Since they are so amazing, I wanted to post a recipe that lets this special spud shine in an unconventional way, since sweet potatoes are always just mashed, roasted or baked like regular potatoes. Well they aren’t just any old Idaho potato, so we’re making pancakes! You can also make this with regular sweet potatoes, but eating purple pancakes is much more exciting! I made a simple strawberry yogurt sauce with local yogurt, honey and berries (from the downtown farmer’s market) to top off the pancakes, if you want to pass on the syrup for something a bit healthier.

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Yum! I couldn’t resist adding maple syrup and cinnamon butter.

Purple Sweet Potato Pancakes (Serves 2)

What you’ll need:
¼ cup mashed purple sweet potatoes
⅔ cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. aluminum free baking powder
⅔ cup water
2 Tbsp. coconut milk
½ tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. agave or local honey

Strawberry Yogurt Topping
Simply mix together all of these ingredients!
What you’ll need:
¼ cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp. mashed strawberries
1 tsp. local honey

Step 1: Wash and scrub your potatoes thoroughly. If boiling, peel and compost the potato skins! if microwaving, leave the skin on.

Step 2: Cook the sweet potatoes. I boiled my potato after cutting it into cubes, but you can cook the potato soft in the microwave by puncturing the skin of the 5-10 times with a fork, wrapping in a wet paper towel, and microwaving on high for 5-8 minutes. Check the potato at 5 minutes to see how soft it is. If boiling, boil for about 20 minutes or until soft.

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Mash those taters well!

Step 3: Remove the skin and mash the sweet potatoes in a bowl with a fork until they are smooth. If you want, use a food processor to speed up the process.

Step 4: Mix together the flour and baking soda in a separate bowl first. Add this mixture, along with all other ingredients to the mashed potatoes, and mix until smooth.

Step 5: Heat your oil of choice, (I used coconut) on medium heat in a skillet or griddle. Pour small 4-5 inch pancakes onto the skillet once hot. Flip once the edges are raised and bubbles start to form in the cake, about 2-3 minutes. Enjoy!

Yogurt: Usually available from a couple of vendors at the farmer’s market, like Glades Ridge Dairy and Swallowtail Farm. However, the critters need a Spring break too, so head over to Ward’s and buy some delicious natural yogurt for the time being!

To learn more about bike-powered food waste diversion in Gainesville, FL, click here.

Thanks for reading,
Krissy Olson

About the Author

Krissy studies Sustainability in the Built Environment at the University of Florida. Her love for organic gardening and support for local food systems grew through her studies and Community Supported Agriculture. Krissy is the Community Outreach Coordinator at Gainesville Compost.