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sweet potato in all the things

 
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Right now it is sweet potato season. They are cheaper than anything else. We can get a few fancy ones (orange, purple) but most of the sweet potatoes we get are what the Internet seems to call "Japanese sweet potatoes", purple outside and white inside (they sometimes turn golden when cooked, and sometimes not). They are very starchy and dry when cooked, and not super sweet.

In the spirit of cheap (my natural state) and also because my beloved has been pre-diabetic and we want him to stick around as long as possible, I've started adding sweet potatoes to all the things, and since most people are surprised when they see it I thought I would share.

Sweet potato and rice is a traditional Korean way of stretching expensive rice with easy-storing sweet potatoes. Soak your white Asian short-grain rice after washing 1:1 with water (other types of rice work too, use the normal ratio of water for cooking, no extra water is needed). While soaking (up to an hour or two) scrub and cut up your sweet potato into little squares and put it on top of the rice, cook as usual.  I don't peel my sweet potatoes unless they're really nasty. I use 1 pound of sweet potato for 1 cup of rice (Japanese rice cooker cup), which makes enough for 2 hungry people or 2 more civilized people + lunchbox the next day. If you like Korean food, there is a fabulous sauce that can go on it if you aren't eating anything saucy with it, which you can find here at Maanchi (my favorite Korean recipe site).

Tonight I'm making an Indian curry with a stew chicken and we'll have sweet potato roti. The recipe could not be easier: 1 part whole wheat flour to 1 part mashed sweet potato (if you boil them, make sure they are drained well before mashing). If I use a cup measure, that makes enough for 6. Roll them out (floured surface, they may get sticky) and cook on the stovetop. They are super soft. If you want you could add spices, cilantro, scallions, etc. We will leave them plain, without even any salt, and dip them in the curry.

Sweet potato also makes a great bulk/thickener for beans, soup, or stew if you have strong flavor. I had some winter squash in the freezer and made soup with it the other day, just chicken broth, the mashed squash, and some cooked sweet potato, blended it up with the stick blender and added some sesame oil, white pepper, and chopped scallion and it was a great side for the stir-fry and Chinese steamed bread we had. If I were making bean stew (or wanted to thicken up baked beans, for example), I would mash the potato before putting it in.

Of course, we do make sweet potato oven fries, mash, bread, and gnocchi. A few years ago potatoes were very scarce and expensive here and I got in the habit of using sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, and we never really went back.
 
pollinator
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Sounds like some great ideas! I love the flavor of sweet potatoes.
 
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You already listed most of the ways we use them, we roast them and bake and stuff them to. If you want more recipes Google "Kumara" that's what we call them in New Zealand. Different types for different dishes one of my favourites is an orange fleshed one we call a Beauregard Kumara, it is sweet and goes really well in a beef curry with a tomato base.
 
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Thanks for the recommendation on the Korean recipe website! I’ve been in a rut with food and really needed some inspiration! I adore Korean food!
Also I love sweet potatoes but I thought this forum would be talking more about growing when I saw it in my email... it’s my first year growing them and I’m so curious to see what happens! I got a late start but I’m hopeful 😁.
One of the favorite things I’ve ever had is a sweet potato quesadilla. Also sweet potatoes  gratin is amazing.  I also love roasted sweet potatoes on top of lentil soup with some biter melon. It’s the most amazing combination!!!
Be well sweet potato lovers.
 
Janelle Lucido
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Forgot to mention one of my other favorites is sweet potato sushi. Baked or steamed sweet potatoes sliced long and combined with green onion and a bit of spicy mayo wrapped in nori with rice.
So good.
 
Tereza Okava
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Location: South of Capricorn
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Welcome Janelle! I think a lot of us grow them, which leads to the inevitable "how do I use this 50 pounds of sweet potatoes". You'll find a lot of threads like that here!

And thanks for the sushi idea, I haven't made sushi in a bit but I do love the creative ones. And the sw pot/lentil/bitter melon combination sounds intriguing, I am a big bitter melon fan. If you'd like to share your recipe, start a thread!
 
pollinator
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Location: SE Indiana
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My favorite is just a simple dry bake with the skin on. But and it's a big but is, they are not all the same. I have breeding them for sometime by true seeds and having mixed up a several varieties am seeing lots of different colors, flavors and textures. Like I said my favorite is still the sweet ones baked but so far I've also tried the less sweet ones fried with onions and added to stews as soups. Always looking for new recipes  and ways to use them.

Thanks for the ideas! I would never have thought of that sushi recipe, I'm gonna try it for sure.  

 
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Location: rural West Virginia
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I grow a purple one which is a deep beautiful purple inside and out, before and after it's cooked. It doesn't soften when fried like the orange ones do and is a little denser when baked, same flavor. I decided I like the orange ones better but keep growing lots of purple ones because they're much more vigorous sprouters. I grow lots because they provide a lot of calories per square yard of garden space,  inhibit weeds once they're established, and keep all fall and winter on a pantry shelf, even healing over cuts. I throw a sweet potato, butternut squash or white potatoes in when I'm running the oven; if we don't want the sweet potat o I can feed it to my chickens, and raw, scrawny or damaged ones are good goat food. Mostly we eat them baked with butter, but I throw some cubed bits in with chopped potatoes for home fries, and I have a peanut butter and sweet potato soup recipe I like.
 
pollinator
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I saw this recipe I have to try that is a meatloaf "cupcake" with sweet potato mash "frosting". Looked amazing.
 
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Location: 5b Ontario
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I like sweet potatoes /yams baked or mashed.

I am aware that yams and sweet potatoes are apparently different things. Forgive my ignorance but I actually don't care all that much, they are labelled in the store as either/or and I've never seen any of the "exotic" coloured options of purple or white or anything else. Just gnarly, knobbly browny orange skins with orange flesh.

Lots of garlic is better, and they get even nicer if I have lots of fresh herbs to add- sage is a favourite. I actually usually mix them with regular potatoes since we find them very sweet to eat as a savoury item. I like them in spiced dishes, like curries, since lots of heat helps tone down the sweetness.

...In that regards, sometimes my mother-in-law will bake them plain in their jackets, and we will eat them as a dessert. I have seen mention of using them in place of pumpkin for pie- I have not tried this but it makes sense to me to use them for that since they are incredibly sweet. :)  

We also grow pumpkins here though, so again theres no point using an import where the local is just fresher and cheaper. Likewise, Canada is filled with regular potatoes, so sweet potatoes are more of a novelty than a standard.
 
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I've recently started using sweet potato leaves in green smoothies. Every thing else "green" in my garden has about pooped out by now, but sweet potato vines are going nuts! I've also read that they can be sauteed or stir-fried like any other green, but have not tried that yet.
 
pollinator
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There are hundreds of varieties of sweet potatoes. One year we got together with 3 other farmers/gardeners to have a sweet potato tasting. All of the 13 varieties were early ones that grew well in Wisconsin and Minnesota. We baked them up on a large restaurant tray and mapped out the varieties on paper and with toothpicks inserted in some of the roots. We served each variety up on its own plate and passed it around the table of about a dozen participants, making comments and taking notes as we went. The grower shared comments on the plant - its growth, leaf shape, etc. The root's skin colors were pale to dark purple and interior colors varied from various shades of orange to purple and white. The flavors were quite different as were the textures. The drier fleshed varieties would probably cook up better when fried and the mushier ones would probably lend themselves to puree or pie. Just like Irish potatoes, picking the right variety can make the difference in your recipe.
 
Tereza Okava
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Location: South of Capricorn
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De Mott wrote: I've also read that they can be sauteed or stir-fried like any other green, but have not tried that yet.


De, I have only a few plants in my garden (and the rabbits have dibs on them), but every once in a while I go to a farmers' market where I can get them, and they are delish stirfried!
 
pollinator
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The greens are delicious sautéed - and yes, cook just like any other greens!
 
pollinator
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Morgan Lawson wrote:I hate sweet potatoes, but other people say that it's very good, I think you had a good idea :)



I don't care for the orange ones myself, that everyone has around Thanksgiving. I don't grow them of buy them: They are stringy and the taste is rather blah unless you drown it in butter, brown sugar, bacon...
The Asian sweet potato is a totally different veggie: Not stringy at all and it reminds me of expensive chestnuts. [So guess what I use to stuff the Thanksgiving turkey? - that's right, Asian sweet potatoes] A little salt and pepper, maybe a little butter is all it takes...
and I can grow them myself in Central Wisconsin Zone 4b. I buy a couple of tubers at the local Co-op in mid April and start them in quarts of water. End of May, I have nice slips and I can plant them when it gets warm enough. After that, it's up to the weather:
Sweet potatoes are vines but they won't climb. I know, I tried; and they want to replant themselves every few feet [a little like pumpkin]. when they do that, though, you end up with a very decorative vine and gorgeous purple blossoms, but few potatoes. Growing them over a plastic film works better... but they do ramble! far and deep [especially in my sandbox!]
This year, I planted them a little tighter in a huge planter [4'high, 4'wide and 33 ft. long]. With the planter above ground, it warms up fast, which allows me to squeeze a couple of extra weeks. You need 3 months minimum to grow a decent crop. In Central Wisconsin, they will still be smaller than what you get at the store, but not by much.
After the first frost, I'll let you know how that experiment worked. This time, I'll cure them in the house. [ I didn't cure them long enough and a good many spoiled. but the ones I ate were finger licking good!
 
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So many good ones we need to try. We recently picked up some sweet potatoes and made one with black beans and tomatoes.

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/249082/sweet-potatoes-with-warm-black-bean-salad/
 
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I bought some purple (on the inside) sweet potatoes at my local grocery store and planted three on a whim over the summer. They’ve now taken over a very large portion on my garden and the surrounding area. I don’t have any idea how many tubers there may be, but there are lots of vines and leaves. We have sautéed the greens in butter and they are quite good and also used them like spinach in scrambled eggs and such.

(My biggest problem now is trying to halt the takeover. My husband is mad and has started mowing them, but they’ve rooted so they just grow right back.)
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
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Nikki Corey wrote:I bought some purple (on the inside) sweet potatoes at my local grocery store and planted three on a whim over the summer. They’ve now taken over a very large portion on my garden and the surrounding area. I don’t have any idea how many tubers there may be, but there are lots of vines and leaves. We have sautéed the greens in butter and they are quite good and also used them like spinach in scrambled eggs and such.
(My biggest problem now is trying to halt the takeover. My husband is mad and has started mowing them, but they’ve rooted so they just grow right back.)



Hmmm there is more than one way to skin a [pole]cat. Hubby is your bigger problem if he is turned off by this beautiful vine. And you have to get along with hubby! Living in South Texas means that yes, winter may not winterkill them. Sweet potatoes make beautiful vines and the blossoms are really pretty. But if that is not your hubby's idea of a no-mow lawn, I'd arm myself with great recipes and a fine tined fork and start digging! As you found out, mowing won't really work. [although if you shaved the ground and did it several times, you would manage to kill them]. As a no-mow lawn, you could install a limit beyond which they may not trespass and just flip them back in the patch when they wander. Right there, you have eliminated another chore: Lawn mowing!
Google "recipes with purple sweet potatoes" and you will find delightful desserts from Hawaii, roasts, multiple veggie dishes etc.. that are sure to tempt his palate.
https://www.google.com/search?q=recipes+with+purple+sweet+potatoes&oq=recipes+with+purple+sweet&aqs=chrome.0.0i457j69i57j0i22i30l3.14270j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
After that, it will be hard to keep him OUT of the patch: He will be out there with fork or shovel and will demand more.
A tip to the wise: Yes, the vines go everywhere and will replant themselves. A sheet of plastic and re-positioning the vines on it when they wander off will prevent them from re-planting, thereby forcing them to put all their tubers close to the Mother plant. Mark the mother plant with a little flag. Come harvesting time, walk to the flag and cut all the vines around the mother plant and haul them away [or replant them. I can't do that in Wisconsin, but in South Texas, a long enough vine, buried, should layer beautifully].
You don't indicate if you guys are fit to work hard, but in case you are not, I would suggest hiring some strong high school kids who want to make a little money on the side during this pandemic and make them a deal. [Approach the Ag Teacher. S/he may even have a crew willing to learn and help]. Or if you don't have enough money, give them some recipes and half the crop they can harvest for you. Sell the rest at a farmer's market, or give away to a pantry or to the school.
Good luck on your project.
 
pollinator
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I have made granola out of sweet potatoes!  It was during one of my phases when I made serious attempts at eating mostly only what I grew myself, and sweet potatoes were easy and abundant.  So....scrub and peel out bad or rough spots, but otherwise leave most of the peel on, grate them raw....using a food processor if there are a lot.  Take the gratings and dry them out...I've used a greenhouse, a car, or a solar cooker with lid propped open....however.  Store the grated pieces like this in jars or sealed containers, no need to refrigerate.  When I want a "batch", take some out and drizzle with some kind of oil or grease or lard or whatever, and then toast quickly in the oven or solar cooker till they are a bit browned.  This is then the starchy base of the granola, replacing the oats.  The oil and browning helps them not soak up milk too quickly so they stay crunchy.  Add whatever else, fruit, nuts, etc. and enjoy
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Alder Burns wrote:I have made granola out of sweet potatoes!  ...So....scrub and peel out bad or rough spots, but otherwise leave most of the peel on, grate them raw....using a food processor if there are a lot.  Take the gratings and dry them out.....however.  Store the grated pieces like this in jars or sealed containers, no need to refrigerate.  When I want a "batch", take some out and drizzle with some kind of oil or grease or lard or whatever, and then toast quickly in the oven or solar cooker till they are a bit browned.  This is then the starchy base of the granola, replacing the oats.  The oil and browning helps them not soak up milk too quickly so they stay crunchy.  Add whatever else, fruit, nuts, etc. and enjoy



This sounds yummy and I just might try. do you have a trick to prevent them from turning brown? I use Asian sweet potatoes and my main objections is that they oxidize in a minute or less unless I dip them in lemon juice or vinegar.
 
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:

Alder Burns wrote:I have made granola out of sweet potatoes!  ...So....scrub and peel out bad or rough spots, but otherwise leave most of the peel on, grate them raw....using a food processor if there are a lot.  Take the gratings and dry them out.....however.  Store the grated pieces like this in jars or sealed containers, no need to refrigerate.  When I want a "batch", take some out and drizzle with some kind of oil or grease or lard or whatever, and then toast quickly in the oven or solar cooker till they are a bit browned.  This is then the starchy base of the granola, replacing the oats.  The oil and browning helps them not soak up milk too quickly so they stay crunchy.  Add whatever else, fruit, nuts, etc. and enjoy



This sounds yummy and I just might try. do you have a trick to prevent them from turning brown? I use Asian sweet potatoes and my main objections is that they oxidize in a minute or less unless I dip them in lemon juice or vinegar.



i dehydrate standard red potatoes shredded and would think that a 4-5 min blanching would solve the darkening problem... if i here in mn find a cheap price on these im gonna try that granola idea!!!
 
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