Sweet potatoes are a healthier alternative to regular potatoes (they are still a root vegetable, so). And they can taste delicious! But slicing them can be tricky.
In this article, we find out what makes sweet potatoes hard to cut and the best method to cut them.
Why Are Sweet Potatoes So Hard to Cut?
It turns out there’s a fairly simple explanation for why sweet potatoes are harder to cut than many other vegetables. The culprit is in their construction—a tough outer layer overlays a softer, moister inner portion. This makes sweet potatoes more difficult to cut since the soft inner layers (which tend to stick together) can be pulled apart during the cutting process.
In fact, it’s even challenging to cut harder materials like wood with an overly soft saw, so it makes sense that something like sweet potatoes would prove tricky too.
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Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins and minerals, but they can be hard to cut. The high sugar content in sweet potatoes causes them to become sticky when they are cooked, making it more difficult to cut them into even slices.
You can avoid this problem by preparing your sweet potatoes ahead of time. When you’re ready to cook them, simply cut them into slices and place them on a baking sheet. Then place the baking sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes until the sweet potatoes are heated through. Once they are warm, remove them from the oven and transfer them to a cutting board or other flat surfaces. You should find that now it’s much easier to slice the sweet potatoes into even pieces!
The high sugar content in sweet potatoes makes them sticky while they’re raw and soft after cooking. If you try to slice these types of vegetables while they’re still hot, you’ll end up with unevenly cut pieces that aren’t very attractive on your plate.
How to Soften Sweet Potatoes When Cutting
If you’ve ever cut a sweet potato without a good knife, you know that it’s nearly impossible to get a clean cut. The soft vegetable is prone to slipping out of your hands and rolling across the countertop. And when you finally do manage to slice through it, the knife sticks in the flesh and makes a mess of things.
But there is an easy solution: Just soak the sweet potato in water before cutting it up. That way, it doesn’t stick as much and makes cutting easier.
Soaking sweet potatoes before cutting them will make them easier to cut by hand or with a knife. All you have to do is let them sit in water for about five minutes before slicing them open or cubing them up for roasting or frying.
You can use this method for any type of vegetable — onions, potatoes, carrots — but sweet potatoes are particularly susceptible because they have a very high moisture content and tend to get slippery when wet.
Other Tips for Cutting Sweet Potatoes
Cutting sweet potatoes is a little more complicated than cutting regular ones. They’re much softer and stickier, so they can be tough to cut into uniform pieces. But if you follow these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to get perfect cuts every time.
Use a sharp knife
Cutting sweet potatoes requires a sharp knife — preferably one with a serrated blade. This will help the knife grip the sweet potato and keep it from slipping around as you cut.
Cutting an oblong sweet potato in half lengthwise may seem like the logical thing to do, but this doesn’t work well for many reasons: First, it’s hard to see where you’re going with this method; second, it’s hard to cut through; and third, it’s harder to keep the halves together while cooking.
Instead, slice off both ends of the sweet potato so they’re flat — this will make them easier to hold onto while cutting — and then start slicing from top to bottom through one side all the way down until you reach the middle. Then turn your knife 90 degrees and slice vertically all the way down again before turning 90 degrees again and repeating until you’ve reached the end.
What is the best knife to cut sweet potatoes?
The best knife to cut sweet potatoes is a chef’s knife.
A chef’s knife or cook’s knife is a general-purpose kitchen knife with a blade that ranges in length from 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm). The blade is thin and flat, making it suitable for slicing, chopping, and dicing. The rear of the blade has a straight edge for cutting across food items, while the front has a curved edge for scooping, peeling, and slicing.
Chef’s knives are available in a wide range of different styles, sizes, and materials. Some have full tang blades (i.e., one piece of metal that runs through the handle), while others have partial tang blades (i.e., only part of the blade extends into the handle).
The best knives are made from high-quality stainless steel or carbon steel. Carbon steel blades are harder than stainless steel blades but can rust if not properly cared for. Stainless steel blades don’t rust but tend to be less flexible than carbon steel blades.