Sweet Potato plants are usually grown for their potatoes, but the leaves are edible and delicious as well. Out of all potato varieties, sweet potatoes are considered to be the easiest to grow. The harvest is usually plentiful. Just like any other potato, sweet potatoes are best grown in warm weather.
Species: I. batatas
Binomial name: Ipomoea batatas
Sweet Potato Leaf Trivia
- Before George Washington became the U.S President, he used to be a sweet potato farmer.
- The heaviest sweet potato weighed around 37kg and was grown in Spain by Manuel Perez.
- In North America, sweet potatoes are usually referred to as “yam” even though botanically they’re much different from real yam.
Sweet Potato Leaf Buying Guide
Look to buy them in farmer’s markets if possible. Choose those sweet potato greens that have dark flesh and those whose leaves are deep green. You should avoid those that are wilted and have holes in them.
Sweet Potato Leaf Production & Farming in Texas
The state of Texas is the fifth largest producer of sweet potatoes in the U.S. The production of these interesting potatoes in Texas is mostly located in Van Zandt County.
The reason Texas is such a great producer of these vegetables is because of its perfect weather conditions. Sweet potatoes require very hot days and warm nights which is what Texas is all about.
Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes have far lower amounts of pesticide residues in them. Meaning you’d feel safer buying them non-organic than regular potatoes.
Sweet potatoes either originated from Central or South America. The origin of sweet potatoes possibly comes between Venezuela and Mexico around 5,000 years BC. They were spread by locals to the Caribbean and South America.
Sweet Potatoes can even tolerate light frost as long as the temperature is above 55 degrees F.
They require well-drained soil and a place where there is a lot of direct sunlight daily.
Sweet Potato Leaves are usually packaged in small plastic bags just like Baby Spinach, but they can also be found in batches of around 10-15 tied around their stems.
Enjoying Sweet Potato Leaves
Even though sweet potatoes are mainly grown for the potatoes, the leaves will help you in the kitchen with their versatility. The greens can be eaten raw but they can possess a bit strong flavor, so you should probably add them to stir-fries, throw them into a salad or saute them.
Before preparing sweet potato greens, wash them and chop them.
To store sweet potato leaves, wrap them in a paper towel before placing them in a plastic bag, preferably vacuum-sealed. Place the plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator and they can last for a few days inside.
Probably the best way to prepare sweet potato leaves is to stir-fry them as their taste will enhance and the nutrients won’t diminish as much. To prepare them, heat oil on medium heat, add garlic and stir-fry until the scent enhances. Add Sweet Potato Leaves to the frying pan and drizzle with soy sauce. You can use red wine if you’re in that kind of thing. Sprinkle salt and sugar and add a little bit of water. When the vegetables become soft, take it off the heat and serve.
Sweet Potato Leaves are known to be great for heart health, they have healing properties and improve eyesight, and are great for bone density.
The greens are also a great source of:
- Vitamins A, B, C, K, and B6
When Are Sweet Potato Leaves in Season in Texas?
To find out when Sweet Potato Leaves are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.