Sweet Potato Salsa (see recipe below) from "The Practical Encyclopedia of Mexican Cooking" by Jane Milton, (Lorenz Books), London, England.

 

 

Believe it or not, jalapeños are good for you! According to the United States Department of Agriculture, if you ate 1 jalapeño pepper (14 g) you would be getting 30.1 mg's of Potassium, 6.2 mg's of Vitamin C, 6.5 mcg's of Folate and 30.1 IU's of Vitamin A as well as some other important vitamins and minerals.

Ever wonder why those peppers are so darn hot? Well, it's because they contain a compound called capsaicin, which is entirely unique to all chile peppers. Capsaicin is a natural substance that produces a burning sensation in the mouth, causing the eyes to water, the nose to run and even perspiration in some people. Capsaicinoids have no flavor or odor, but act directly on the pain receptors in the mouth and throat.

According to "The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition: How to buy, store, and prepare every variety of fresh food" (Random House), studies have shown that capsaicin works as an anticoagulant, thus possibly helping in preventing heart attacks or strokes caused by blood clots. Small amounts of the substance can produce numbing of the skin and have a slight anti-inflammatory effect. In some countries, peppers are used in salves.

Peppers, which are high in Vitamin C, may be effective in protecting against cancer. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, a chemical substance capable of removing the threat from free radicals, which can cause cells to mutate (p. 141). Red peppers contain more Vitamin C than green bell peppers or citrus fruit and are a good source of Beta-Carotene (p.136). If you add peppers to sweet potatoes you'll really be in for a Beta-Carotene blast.

Eventually you will be able to build up a tolerance to the heat of the peppers, but if you're a beginner pepper eater, here are a few remedies and tips for combating the pepper's bite as well as some more sweet potato salsa recipes:

 
 

Drink tomato juice (acid counteracts the alkalinity of the capsaicin).

Drinking water is not recommended because the capsaicin is oil based and oil does not mix with water. With this method the capsaicin is instead distributed to more parts of the mouth causing even more pain! Yowsa!

Eating rice or bread will absorb the capsaicin.

The best remedy is to drink milk and rinse your mouth before you swallow (gargling could be embarassing).

Pucker up and suck a fresh lemon or lime (acid counteracts the alkalinity of the capsaicin).

Mixing plain yogurt with a little sugar provides a soothing effect.

Oh heck, just eat another pepper. Mo hotta is mo betta! You'll get used to it and it will cure what ails ya! If nothing else, it will sure help you take your mind off your other troubles, at least temporarily!

 

 

SWEET POTATO SALSA
(Jane Milton, Author, "The Practical Encyclopedia of
Mexican Cooking," (Lorenz Books), London, England)

 
1-1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, 4 small spring onions,
  peeled & finely diced   finely chopped
juice of 1 small orange salt to taste
1 teaspoon dried crushed juice of 1 small lime (optional,
   jalapeños (or use fresh)   for a fresher taste)
  

A very colorful sweet salsa, the perfect accompaniment to hot spicy dishes or simply served with a grilled salmon fillet. Boil sweet potatoes in water to cover over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or just until soft. Drain sweet potatoes well using a collander. Return sweet potatoes to saucepan and place back on burner with the heat turned off to dry out. Place in a bowl and allow to cool. Combine orange juice, jalapeños and onions; set aside. Mix gently with sweet potatoes until well coated. Chill for at least 1 hour. Add salt to taste. Add lime juice for a fresher taste. Allow to stand for at least 1 hour longer before serving. Will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

 

"The Practical Encyclopedia of Mexican Cooking," is an essential guide to a fiery, flavorful and richly complex cuisine. It's bursting with over 500 full-color photographs and 150 authentic Mexican Recipes, including the Sweet Potato Salsa. Purchase Jane’s book at Amazon. Check out Jane's web site.

 

 

SWEET POTATO SALSA
(Bob Passorelli, Executive Chef, Governor's Mansion, Raleigh, NC)

 
 1 large North Carolina Sweet 1 jalapeño, seeded & diced
  Potato, peeled & finely diced   (wear rubber gloves)
2 teaspoons salt 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 lime, juiced & rind grated
1 medium tomato, diced 1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons red bell  pinch salt
   pepper, diced 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  

Boil sweet potato in 1 quart of boiling water and salt for 1 or 2 minutes or until tender-crisp; cool. Combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate (marinade) for at least 1 hour. Serve cold. Makes 4 to 6 servings. Enjoy!

  

  

SWEET POTATO-MARGARITA SALSA

1/2 cup mild onion, chopped 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 cups fresh peaches, diced 3 tablespoons tequila, orange
  (can also use fresh mango)   liqueur or orange juice
1 to 2 tablespoons serrano or 1 teaspoon lime rind, grated
  hot chile, seeded & minced 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Combine all ingredients and blend well. Serve at room temperature. Use to top baked or grilled sweet potatoes or use as an accompaniment for chicken, ham, pork or shrimp. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

  

  

SWEET POTATO PECAN SALSA FOR HAM & TURKEY
(Mark Miller & Mark Kiffin, Authors, "The Great Salsa Book")

  
1-1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, 1/4 cup dried cranberries,
  peeled & diced  soaked in hot water for
1/2 teaspoon sugar   5 minutes & drained
1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup pecans, toasted 1 tablespoon red chile powder
  (optional) 2 tablespoons orange juice

Boil sweet potatoes with sugar and salt for 4 minutes; drain and cool. Combine sweet potatoes, pecans and cranberries; set aside. Cook maple syrup, chili powder and 1/4 cup water in saucepan over medium heat for 4 minutes or until reduced by half; cool and add with orange juice. Makes about 3 cups. Enjoy!

  

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories 71; Total Fat 1 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 95 mg; Total Carbohydrates 15 g.

  

  

ZESTY SWEET POTATO CORN SALSA
(North Carolina SweetPotato Commission, Smithfield, NC)

 
2 cups North Carolina Sweet 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded
  Potatoes, cooked & diced   & chopped (wear rubber gloves)
1 (15.25 oz.) can whole kernel 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro,
  corn, drained   chopped
1/4 cup red pepper, diced 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 small garlic clove, minced 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes to blend flavors. Use as a flavor enhancer for grilled chicken, fish or pork. Makes 12 servings. Enjoy! If you want to learn more about sweet potatoes, go to the North Carolina SweetPotato Commission's web site at www.ncsweetpotatoes.com.

  

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:  Calories 87; Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 131 mg; Carbohydrates 21 g; Protein 2 g; Vitamin A - 9,543 IU.