There are flavors that can transcend time and can live forever in a nostalgic moment. Whether simply roasted or lovingly mashed into a buttery casserole and topped with toasted miniature marshmallows, sweet potatoes, those Thanksgiving stalwarts, are a cook’s most trusted friend. As comforting and satisfying as those dishes may be, we must look beyond them to find the tuber’s true greatness.
With more than 7,500 acres in production, the Bayou State is America’s fourth-largest sweet potato producer and has a 200-year history with the vegetable. According to René Simon, the executive director of the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission, growing sweet potatoes is more than just a business; it’s a passion. They are less profitable than many other crops to grow and more susceptible to the adverse weather conditions Louisiana experiences during its late-summer and early-fall harvests.
“Many of our sweet potato farmers have been at this for five generations,” says René. “Louisiana sweet potatoes have a deeper color and more sweetness than others on the market, and our growers are very particular about the products they sell. It’s part of our DNA.”
Since 2005, Louisiana Cookin’ and the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission have challenged home cooks and chefs from around the country to take the sweet potatoes to the next level. Now thousands of recipes into the Sweet Rewards Recipe Contest, we have been constantly impressed by the preparations and flavor combinations that the contest has brought to the table.
2013 Sweet Rewards Recipe Contest Winners
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_3″ last=”no”]
[fusion_builder_column type=”1_3″ last=”no”]
[fusion_builder_column type=”1_3″ last=”yes”]
[/fusion_builder_column]Photography by Beth Hontzas