Sweet Potatoes Feast
Botanical Name of Sweet Potatoes
The botanical name is Ipomea batatus, which makes them family of the Morning Glory.
Growing Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes grow easily from slips and roots. If you keep the roots in a closed box, the shoots will appear after a few days. Slips should be about 30 cm long. Press them firmly into the soil. Keep the slips moist while they are developing. Keep the crop moist, but not waterlogged.
Sweet Potatoes like a lot of compost added to the soil. Avoid the use of fresh manure. This will cause the leaves to grow, and the tubers will be sacrificed. Start them growing in the spring.
Sweet Potatoes need little attention while they are growing. Make sure you have enough space for them though, as they can spread far and wide. The sweet potato forms an excellent ground cover.
You will always have sweet potatoes in the garden. They will pop up again in the new season.
Sweet Potatoes Companions and Antagonists
Sweet Potato grows well with peas. They generally don’t need too much attention and grow on their own. They have no antagonists.
Sweet Potatoes nutritional value
These hardy plants provide the body with carbohydrates, protein and are packed with vitamin A and C. They contain Iron and calcium. Sweet Potatoes are good for diabetics. They have a high dietary fibre content.
Cooking with Sweet Potatoes
The young leaves are a useful form of spinach. Livestock will thrive on the mature leaves. Dig out enough sweet potatoes for a meal or two. Wash them well. Baked or boiled sweet potatoes are delicious, especially when you pick them fresh. You can mash sweet potatoes or add them to stews, soups and curries.
A favourite recipe, learned from some Israeli friends goes like this:
Sweet Potato Oven Chips
2-3 sweet potatoes
Garlic, parsley and fresh mustard
Soya sauce (optional)
Slice the sweet potatoes into thin rounds. Rub them with oil. Stand them against each other on a baking tray. Bake them at 200°C for 15-20 minutes. They will get all crispy. Prepare the garlic, parsley and mustard, by chopping it finely. As you take the chips out of the oven, sprinkle the herb mixture over the chips. Sprinkle with Soya sauce and savour the delicious flavour.
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