Friday, September 20, 2013

Sweet potato greens are good!

Let me tell you what I did.

Maybe you remember this post about growing a sweet potato inside? I wrote about how the leaves are edible but that I hadn't tried them yet because the potato root rotted and I just threw the whole mess away to get the dead smell out of my house. I didn't express that last sentiment in the post.

But now forward to summer. The organic produce delivery service I was using kept bringing sweet potatoes faster than we were eating them and I kept not calling to tell them not to. So, I had another sweet potato on the counter that started to grow sprouts.

I decided to cut it up and plant the pieces outside to see what would happen.

What happened right away was chipmunks ate nearly every piece. One tiny bit in the shade remained but never grew much at all. But the other (only 2 survived) grew like crazy!

I was happy! Beautiful green, heart-shaped leaves. Pretty, right? I didn't even remember that I had planned to eat it, so I proudly watched it grow for weeks.

Then one night, I was home alone; I had to make dinner only for myself. (This is significant because my family never would have agreed to what I'm about to tell you I did.) So, I try very hard to eat enough greens, but I didn't have anything in the fridge, and I wasn't keen on going to the grocery store just then (or ever).

I went outside to pick a few tomatoes when I suddenly remembered with some enthusiasm, I have sweet potato greens!

I discovered that insects love sweet potato vines, too, but I found some mostly undamaged ones and cut off a few stems to take inside. I washed them, chopped them, and sauteed them quickly in a tiny bit of oil and garlic. Then, yes, I ate them.

Just one word: YUM!

There was the slightest bit of okra-like ... shall we say ... texture to it. (I'm from the South; I love okra!) But even if you hate okra, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Just be careful not to cook them too long—just a little more than wilted. The flavor was very mild, much like spinach. Very, very palatable! These greens will feature in my menus from now on.

Sweet potato greens are an easy to grow crop, indoors or out. See if you like them as much as I do!