The sweet potato was first discovered in the new world by Spanish explorer DeSoto in what is now Louisiana in the 1500’s being cultivated by Native Americans. Not actually a potato but a member of the morning glory family, this tuber was a staple on American tables in early colonial days, revolutionary and civil wars, it was easily transportable and preserved well.
The sweet potato is a true super food, North Carolinians have know that for a long time. The North Carolina Sweet Potato Commision says that sweet potatoes are high in fiber, anti-oxidants, beta carotene and rich in complex carbohydrates. It’s a natural source of vitamins A, C and E as well as iron, calcium and potassium. This low fat tuber also happens to be mighty tasty, the best way to prepare the sweet potato is to simply bake and serve with a drizzle of NC honey.
Frequenting the Holly Springs Farmer’s Market, the number one small market in North Carolina, I have made some wonderful friends at Barnes Farm and Produce of Willow Springs. Every week at Barnes they have something new and exciting.Some of the offerings this year have been baby eggplant, thai chili peppers, butternut squash and Mortgage Lifter heirloom tomatoes.As well as southern favorites crook neck squash, purple hull peas, award winning collards that won a ribbon in the NC state fair 2011.
To have farm fresh produce to work with is truly inspirational, when I saw the fresh dug sweet potatoes the Barnes were selling for .50 cents a pound, they said sweet potato butter to me. After trying a few sweeter versions the decsion was made to go with a butter sweetened with mostly orange juice and paired with a Chinese five spice powder. Chinese five spice has a unique blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise and schezwan peppercorn. This combination really highlighted the freshness and color of the Barnes grown sweet potato. So without further ado here is the first Barnes Farms and Produce original recipe.
Barne’s Sweet Potato Butter with Five Spiceby Joseph V. Fasy
6 cups Roasted sweet potatoes
4 cups Orange juice
1/2 cup Apple cider vinager
2 cups Granulated sugar
4 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
Roast sweet potatoes in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour
Peel and measure, add to crockpot
Add juice, vinager, sugar and spice
Cook for 6 hours on high, remove lid the last 1/2 hour to allow butter to come to consistency
While hot, ladel into mason jars and process for 8 minutes
Allow to cool, check seals and label