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WHAT'S COOKING? October is the beginning of sweet potato season

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Teresa Hatchell 2005

Teresa Hatchell

The year 2020 was a year of many “firsts,” including being the first time in more than 200 years that Indian Field Campmeeting was not held. Thankfully, we held it last week. And while precautions made it somewhat different this year, we still had excellent daily worship services and had fellowship with cautious physical contact. As far as the “feasting,” we still enjoyed fried chicken, baked chicken, roast beef, pork chops, macaroni pie, stewed squash and cabbage, etc. We also had my personal favorite – candied yams – every day but one. You see the supply of sweet potatoes ran very low in our area because of Campmeeting. Fortunately my son Lance (the music director for worship) had to drive to Florence to get some supplies. His home there is a stone’s throw from a grocery store that had them on sale, so he bought a 40-pound box of sweet potatoes to bring back and solved our family’s shortage. 

Sweet potatoes are so very nutritious … even “candied.” You may do an internet search to find out about the huge amount of nutrients you will be ingesting if you try the recipes below. Too, you may bake sweet potatoes, fry sweet potatoes, coat them in olive oil, garlic, rosemary and other seasonings before you roast them on a baking sheet … even make bread or cake with them. That said, I urge you to please give these recipes a try and keep them on hand as they are delicious year round.

Sweet potato pie

Note: If you prefer, you may omit the coconut.

1 (9-inch) pie crust

1 (17-ounce) can sweet potatoes, mashed

1 cup evaporated milk (cream)

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup sugar

1 cup flaked coconut

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cool Whip

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake the piecrust until it is very lightly browned. Remove it from the oven. In a large bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, milk, eggs, sugar, coconut, pecans and vanilla. Pour this mixture into the piecrust. Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes (until the center is almost set. Allow the pie to cool. Top each serving with a dollop of Cool Whip.

Candied yams

4 cups white sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

3 cups water

1/2 stick margarine or butter

8 medium dark orange sweet potatoes

In a large Dutch oven pot, combine the white sugar, cinnamon, water and margarine or butter. Bring these ingredients to a slow boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to “simmer” and allow the “syrupy” ingredients to simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The easiest way to peal the sweet potatoes is to microwave them four at a time for about 3 minutes each batch. Allow the sweet potatoes to cool to the touch. Peel them and slice them lengthwise. Put them into the “syrup” in the pot. Cover the pot and allow them to simmer for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. The longer they simmer, the better they taste, but keep the heat very low. 

Sweet potato delight

(I have found that this version of sweet potato casserole is a true crowd pleaser.)

3-1/2 cups boiled, drained, mashed sweet potatoes

1-1/2 cups sugar

1 stick butter, room temperature

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Top crust

1-1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup soft butter

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup chopped pecans, optional

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir the mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, butter, two eggs and vanilla extract until all of the ingredients are well combined. Place this mixture in a lightly buttered casserole dish. In a separate bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the top crust. Toss them with a fork to mash out all lumps in the brown sugar. Put an even layer of crust on top of the sweet potatoes to create a cover. Bake this at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. The top should be medium-brown.

Sweet potato casserole with marshmallow topping

3-1/2 cups boiled, drained, mashed sweet potatoes

1-1/2 cups light brown sugar

1 stick of butter, room temperature

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate

1 tablespoon Real lemon juice

Small can of crushed pineapple, well drained

1 cup black or white raisins, optional

Small bag miniature marshmallows

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, use a mixer to combine the mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, butter, cinnamon, orange juice and lemon juice. Mix these ingredients until the consistency is smooth. Stir in the crushed pineapple and raisins. Place the mixture in a medium-size casserole dish that has been “greased” with butter. Bake it at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Evenly place the miniature marshmallows on top, and bake the casserole until the marshmallows are light brown (about 10 minutes). Keep an eye on the casserole, because marshmallows burn easily.

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