Sweet Potato Surprise

Record-keeping is an area of needed improvement for me. In the spring I planted a handful of sweet potato starts. I don’t remember exactly where they came from and of course, I didn’t write it down. The starts took a while to “catch” but once they did, they really went wild. Here’s a photo of the center of the forest garden completely covered in sweet potato vines.

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A couple weeks ago I was walking along the edge of the path (the rest of the path being swamped by sweet potato foliage) and pulling weeds. A weird shape caught my eye down in the path, and I reached down and pulled back the vines… to find a sweet potato as long as my foot heaved up most of the way out of the ground, and bright green.

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Thinking of green potatoes and freaking out that my sweet potato crop was ruined, I started clearing vines immediately around that sweet potato and pulled another five sweet potatoes, each at least a pound. Each one was at least partially green. They were all big and felt heavy but were strangely pinky-beige everywhere they weren’t green. I took some photos and posted them with a slighty panicked plea for advice on the local gardening group and then googled for another hour. The consensus was that they weren’t poisonous, but no one knew whether they’d still taste good. So I decided to let them cure and see what happened.

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My husband was baking some sweet potatoes from the store last night for dinner so I told him to pull a couple out of the crate on the front porch and throw them in the oven. They took a long time to cook through- longer than the store sweet potatoes. The skin was almost burned. When I cut them open I found out why. I somehow planted white sweet potatoes. This one was dry and dense, not as sweet as the orange-fleshed ones, more like a chestnut flavor. Really good. Comparing varieties, I’d say these are either Nancy Halls or O’Henry’s. I have only harvested sweet potatoes from one vine, so there may be some orange ones out there. If the area I dug up is representative of the whole bed, I am going to be pulling a whole lot of sweet potatoes.

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