I planted a 4 x 8’ raised bed with sweet potato starts this year and was pleased at the amount of ‘Beauregard’ sweet potatoes that small area produced considering that I planted them in June and pretty much ignored them until September when I started sneaking a few here and there to cook for dinner and finally last week (Oct 25th) dug them all up, left them lay in the garden for a couple of hours then brushed off the extra soil and spread them out on a table in the garage out of direct sun to cure for a couple of weeks.
Sweet potatoes can deal with heat and less rain which was good this year since we had close to record breaking temperatures with near drought conditions mid to late summer.
I should have mounded soil up around the potatoes during the growing season as necessary but didn’t. A few tater tips were sticking up out of the soil and were a bit green. I will cut those ends off and not worry about it.
The vines grew out beyond their borders and I did trim them up a couple of times when they encroached on the strawberries. Geoff with CobraHead Tool Company lives in Austin, TX and told me he eats the sweet potato vines when he trims them. I had never heard of that and am excited to try it next summer. He says to blanch them first then sauté them in a little butter with salt and pepper. The moles did enjoy some of the fruits of MY labor as well, apparent on a few of the taters. Next year I will be more vigilant and proactive by using mole-ridding products - ‘I Must Garden Mole and Vole Repellant’ and ‘Liquid Fence Mole Repellent Worms’. I may also try placing chicken wire at the bottom of the raised bed – after all, it usually takes a village to control these tricky critters.
Sweet Potatoes pack a powerful punch when it comes to health. Dr. Robert Cordell claims that a sweet potato a day keeps the doctor away @ http://www.ncsweetpotatoes.com/nutrition/27.html He continues…
“The sweet potato ranks extremely high in nutritional value according to the Center of Science in the Public Interest. The Center strongly recommends eating more sweet potatoes since a nutritious diet is one that is high in fiber, provides protein, Vitamins A, C, E, iron and calcium, is rich in complex carbohydrates, and low in fat.
The sweet potato is a good source of dietary fiber, which lowers the risk for constipation, diverticulosis, colon and rectal cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The fiber in sweet potatoes provides a feeling of fullness and satiety, which helps to control food intake.
Antioxidants play a role in the prevention of heart disease and cancer, and sweet potatoes supply plenty of the antioxidants, vitamin E and beta-carotene. These substances are effective in neutralizing free radicals, which are responsible for damage to cell walls and cell structures. Vitamin E also protects against heart attack and stroke by reducing the harmful effects of low-density cholesterol and preventing blood clots.
Antioxidants are essential for good brain functioning and in delay in the effects of aging on the brain. A low level of vitamin E has been linked with memory loss. A Columbia University study showed a delay of about seven months in the progression of Alzheimer's disease when subjects consumed high levels of vitamin E. This fat-soluble vitamin is found mainly in high-fat foods such as oils, nuts, and avocados. Only the sweet potato provides vitamin E without the fat and calories.
Sweet potatoes contain 1,922 mcg - RAE of beta-carotene (vitamin A) in one cup, which is more than the USRDA. You would have to eat 16 cups of broccoli to consume the same amount of beta-carotene. Health professionals believe that carotenoids give protection from the formation of free radicals and are chemoprotective against cancer. “
So go ahead and enjoy sweet potatoes as often as you can. They are easy to prepare by baking, roasting, boiling or get creative and make soup, pies and fries – you are only limited by your imagination.
One of my favorite uses for the orange tuber is in soup - here is a recipe to try...
Cindy Sue’s Sweet Potato Soup
Sauté in heavy steel pan with 1 tablespoon of butter on low heat until tender:
1 large onion, chopped
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tart apple, peeled, seeded and chopped
Melt 2-3 Tablespoons butter in a large heavy stainless steel pot sautae onion, potatoes and apple until tender.
1 can chicken broth (15 oz)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon curry
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
½ Tablespoon fresh grated ginger root
Simmer on low until all is cooked (mushy)
Add 3 cups cream or milk, use a hand held blender to mix until desired creamy texture is achieved. Some small chunks are okay.