It’s Autumn when not only does nature paint the trees and landscapes with vivid and brilliant colors but it is also harvest time for all those pumpkins, squashes, and one of my favorite foods — Sweet potatoes! They are such a healthy, delicious food that we decided to grow our own organic stash for this winter.
Not only did I grow and love them for their taste but for the nutritional and health value. I use them throughout the winter for baked fries, making chips, roasted them in the oven and so many other ways. There are so many different varies and types of sweet potatoes such a deep orange jewels, orange garnet, purple and so on.
You can make so many recipes and wonderful, tasty dishes with them, they are just plain delicious, filled with many health benefits such as vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory, and contain beta carotenoids which are powerful antioxidants properties.
Some health benefits and important reasons why you should love sweet potatoes:
- That help prevent cancer
- Strength our immune system
- Strengthen our eyesight
Some of the Amazing Nutritional Benefits from Sweet Potatoes
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Fiber Pantothenic acid
- Vitamin B6, B3, B1, B2
Some other good news —
- Recent research has shown that particularly when passing through our digestive tract, sweet potato cyanidins and peonidins and other color-related phytonutrients may be able to lower the potential health risk posed by heavy metals and oxygen radicals. They are also known to help lower blood pressure.
- Even though sweet potatoes contain natural sugar and are naturally sweet-tasting the sugars are released slowly into the bloodstream. This helps to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain.
Besides all those benefits we love sweet potatoes and so we decided this year that we were going to grow our own organic sweet potatoes.
We started our organic sweet potatoes by growing slips on our window sills where they got plenty of light!
These are some of our sweet potatoes slips – one jar is purple slips the other is different types of orange breeds.
My husband is filling 3 food grade recycled barrels that we bought for $10 a piece and cut in half. We filled them with fermented compost consisting of leaves, horse, chicken, goat manure, and organic vermiculite. We had 6 half barrels filled with about 5-6 plants in each. The purple sweet potatoes seem to die off to one or two plants per barrel, but most of the orange-red plants grew vigorously!
The sweet potatoes plants in July!
Time for harvest! My husband pulled the long vines out and then dug up the sweet potatoes!
These are some of the Orange-Red varieties -Beuregarde – Covington!
You can see that the purple (on the left) did not produce as many – we are not sure why!
Now that we have harvest our sweet potatoes we have to cure them to store for winter. Curing them turns the starches into sugar, sweetens the flavor, and helps seal and cuts or wounds that might have occurred while harvesting them. I have found even with curing it is best to use the wounded ones first. The simplest method I have found is to place the sweet potatoes in newspaper-lined boxes in a warm, well-ventilated room without 85 percent humidity for about a week to 10 day. We put ours beside our pellet stove and I put a pan of water inside the box, cover with a blanket that I remove for a day or so and put back on. After curing we will store them in a our storage room where it the temperature is cool, dark, even temperature (suggested temperature is about 55-60 degrees), and well ventilated throughout the winter.
What food have you grown yourself this year or what would you like to grow yourself? Have you ever tried growing your sweet potatoes and what were the results? Would love to hear your suggestions!