WERE AWARE THAT THEY WERE ONE OF A BABY’S FIRST MEALS AND ONE OF NATURE’S MOST NUTRITIOUS FOODS. But as a rather inexperienced sweet potato grower, there are things that I had to figure out on my own on Things You Needed to learn About Sweet Potatoes before planting.
Things You Needed to Learn About Sweet Potatoes
D.I.Y. for Starters?
First Thing You Needed to learn About Sweet Potatoes, I could theoretically sprout my own slips if I still had healthy, firm stock from the previous year and there were no signs of sickness or problems during the growing season. And it might actually come to that. As you may be aware if you have forgotten a sweet potato in the cupboard, I would need to get some of the stored potatoes to start sprouting in the dark. I would place them in something akin to a hotbed (whether under lights on a heat mat, or in an actual hotbed out in a coldframe outdoors). I’m sitting next to this National Gardening Association article about slip-growing to carefully read it.
Storage Is No Picnic
On the other hand, storage in the typical home is a total lottery. They want to be tucked in at 55 to 60 degrees with 85ish percent humidity after a week of curing the freshly dug crop at 85 degrees and 85-90 percent humidity or thereabouts (where exactly is that optimum area, I wonder). The basement is too cold, the house is hot and dry in the winter, etc. A tricky situation.
Freezer to the Rescue
A excellent way to overcome storage issues would be to cook and freeze some of the harvest while it is still at its prime. I make and store roasted or mashed sweet potatoes, a sweet potato-based pureed soup, and even this quick curry in the top image (but leave out the mushrooms until reheating time). There are many mouthwatering and original sweet potato recipes from my fellow food bloggers in the box a little bit farther down the page. Take a sample.
Harvest Right on Time
I’ve found that treating these foods like white potatoes that can be kept in the ground a little longer as fall approaches may drastically affect their shelf life and even their flavor. Instead of waiting until frost damages the vines to act, note when you planted, the variety’s anticipated days to maturity (often 120; at least 100), and then assess the readiness of a sample plant. Triage: If frost has already beaten you, immediately clip the vines at ground level (to prevent harm underground) and begin harvesting.
What They Like to Drink
These guys are tricky to water. Overwatering is bad, and a wet year can lead to long, stringy sweet potatoes and poor root development. Once their vines have covered the ground and filled in, they prefer it hot and dry. A significant wet spell in the month prior to harvest and heavy rains following dry spells late in the growing season are particularly risky because they can result in splitting and cracking. The following year, I’ll make an effort to more closely mimic what they ostensibly desire: less frequent deep waterings that wait at least six inches after the soil has dried out before watering again.
They’re Overly Ambitious
It might appear that allowing these lusty vines to spread out and take root wherever they please will guarantee a bumper crop, but that is not how things work in this situation. You could probably let them wander a little if you had more frost-free months than I do, but I need to “tell” the plants to focus on producing large potatoes rather than running around aimlessly producing small potatoes and new plants far from the parent plant. As a result…
Black Plastic Helps
For a Northern grower like myself, black plastic is more effective at warming the soil to the right temperature for sweet potatoes. Additionally, it can prevent the vines from spreading widely. To get the most early warming, lay it down as soon as you can.
Please Don’t Eat the Ornamentals
Last Thing You Needed to Know About Sweet Potatoes, Although you technically could eat the “potatoes” from your ornamental sweet potato vine, don’t. The following information was discovered as a result of inquiries from readers, who also did some research: Ipomoea batatas, such as “Blackie” with purple leaves or “Margarita” with golden leaves, and all of their cousins, are Ipomoea batatas that we grow for display. They belong to the same genus and species as “Beauregard” or “Jewel.” But keep in mind this: It was probably treated with one or more chemicals not meant for use in vegetable growing in the nursery where it was propagated. (Apparently, even without the nasty dose of chemicals, they don’t taste even close to as good as the vegetable garden varieties.)
Read also: Ways to Store Garden Vegetables
Nutrition facts of Sweet Potatoes
The nutrition facts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw sweet potatoes are:
- Calories: 86
- Water: 77%
- Protein: 1.6 grams
- Sugar: 4.2 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Fat: 0.1 grams
Starches are often split into three categories based on how well they’re digested. The starch proportions in sweet potatoes are as follows:
- Rapidly digested starch (80%). This starch is quickly broken down and absorbed, increasing the GI value.
- Slowly digested starch (9%). This type breaks down more slowly and causes a smaller rise in blood sugar levels.
- Resistant starch (11%). This one escapes digestion and acts like fiber, feeding your friendly gut bacteria. The amount of resistant starch may increase slightly by cooling the sweet potatoes after cooking.
A medium-sized sweet potatoes contains 3.8 grams of fiber, making cooked sweet potatoes rather high in fiber.
Pectin, which makes up 15–23% of the fibers, is both soluble and insoluble (77–85%), as are cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin.
By delaying the breakdown of carbohydrates and starches, soluble fibers like pectin can make you feel fuller for longer, which will help you eat less and prevent blood sugar rises.
A high insoluble fiber consumption has been linked to health advantages, including a decreased risk of diabetes and enhanced gut health.
Sweet potatoes are a poor source of protein because they only contain 2 grams per medium sweet potato.
Sporamins, certain proteins found in sweet potatoes, make up more than 80% of their total protein content.
Every time the plant sustains physical injury, sporamins are created to aid in recovery. Recent studies imply that they might possess antioxidant qualities.
Sweet potatoes are a significant source of this macronutrient in many impoverished nations despite having a relatively low protein content.
Beta carotene, vitamin C, and potassium are all abundant in sweet potatoes. In this vegetable, the vitamins and minerals that are most plentiful are:
- Pro-vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, which your body can convert into vitamin A. Just 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of this vegetable provides the recommended daily amount of this vitamin.
- Vitamin C. This antioxidant may decrease the duration of the common cold and improve skin health.
- Potassium. Important for blood pressure control, this mineral may decrease your risk of heart disease.
- Manganese. This trace mineral is important for growth, development, and metabolism.
- Vitamin B6. This vitamin plays an important role in the conversion of food into energy.
- Vitamin B5. Also known as pantothenic acid, this vitamin is found to some extent in nearly all foods.
- Vitamin E. This powerful fat-soluble antioxidant may help protect your body against oxidative damage.
Like other whole plant foods, sweet potatoes contain a number of plant compounds that may affect your health. These include:
- Beta carotene. An antioxidant carotenoid that your body converts into vitamin A. Adding fat to the meal can increase your absorption of this compound.
- Chlorogenic acid. This compound is the most abundant polyphenol antioxidant in sweet potatoes.
- Anthocyanins. Purple sweet potatoes are rich in anthocyanins, which possess strong antioxidant properties.
Notably, sweet potatoes’ antioxidant activity rises as their flesh’s color intensity does. Sweet potatoes with strong hues, such purple, deep orange, and red, perform well. After cooking, sweet potatoes absorb more vitamin C and certain antioxidants, although levels of other plant substances may somewhat decline.
Many people choose sweet potatoes instead of normal potatoes because they think they are healthier.
Water, carbohydrates, fat, and protein content are comparable across the two species.
It should be noted that sweet potatoes occasionally have a lower GI and have higher levels of both sugar and fiber.
Both sweet potatoes and potassium are excellent sources of vitamin C, but sweet potatoes also include high levels of beta carotene, which your body may convert to vitamin A.
Regular potatoes may be more filling, but they may also include glycoalkaloids, chemicals that can be dangerous when consumed in big quantities.
Sweet potatoes are frequently seen as the healthier alternative between the two due to their high fiber and vitamin content.
Prevention of vitamin A deficiency
Given the vital role that vitamin A plays in your body, vitamin A deficiency is a significant public health concern in many poor nations.
Deficiency can harm your eyes in both the short and long term and potentially result in blindness. Additionally, it can weaken the immune system and raise mortality rates, particularly in kids and women who are pregnant or nursing.
The highly absorbable beta carotene found in sweet potatoes is a good source of vitamin A, which your body can make from it.
The amount of beta-carotene in a sweet potato directly correlates with how intensely it is yellow or orange in color.
Because they contain a kind of beta carotene that is incredibly absorbable, orange sweet potatoes have been demonstrated to raise blood levels of vitamin A more than other sources.
This makes consuming sweet potatoes a fantastic method of preventing vitamin A deficiency in underdeveloped nations.
Improved blood sugar regulation
Type 2 diabetes is characterized primarily by insulin secretion imbalance and abnormal blood sugar levels.
People with type 2 diabetes may experience less discomfort if they consume caiapo, a sweet potato variety with white skin and flesh.
This sweet potato may improve insulin sensitivity in addition to lowering fasting blood sugar and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
The use of sweet potatoes in the management of type 2 diabetes, however, is not supported by the available data. Additional human research is required.
Reduced oxidative damage and cancer risk
When cells divide uncontrolled, oxidative damage to cells is frequently linked to an increased risk of cancer.
A lower incidence of stomach, kidney, and breast cancer is linked to diets high in antioxidants such carotenoids.
Studies indicate that sweet potatoes’ potent antioxidants may reduce your risk of cancer. Purple potatoes have the highest antioxidant activity