January Sweet Potatoes

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Sweet potatoes may be the perfect homesteaders’ food crop. They store easily and keep well. Once cured (a simple process) all you have to do is put them in a cool dark place and they’ll be good for the better part of a year. No canning or freezing necessary.  Of course they’re delicious and nutritious to boot.

We’ve been enjoying sweet potatoes since we harvested them in October and there are still plenty of them in our basement.  In addition to feeding us and our farm customers, they’ve become a staple of our dog Ginny’s whole food diet.

Sweet potatoes for Ginny

Sweet potatoes for Ginny

Lucky dog

Lucky dog

We just finished off the last of our Irish potatoes, just as they were starting to look like some kind of weird space aliens.  Meanwhile the sweet potatoes still look as good as they did the day we took them out of the ground.  Of course the Irish potatoes were harvested much earlier, in July.  But the late harvest date is another homesteading advantage of the sweet potato, as it helps assure that they’ll last through the winter months.

We’re planning to have another large garden of sweet potatoes again this summer.  I expect they’ll always be an important part of both our farm business and our personal food supply.

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17 comments on “January Sweet Potatoes

  1. BeeHappee says:

    Thank, Bill, this was interesting, sweet potatoes are new thing to me (we did not have them growing up), like them now, but cannot get the rest of the family to eat them.

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    • Bill says:

      They grow best in long hot summers, so they’re a popular food in the South and not so well-known elsewhere. We love them. Sorry the rest of your family doesn’t agree. I guess that means more for you. 🙂

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  2. Bill, sweet potatoes were always a Thanksgiving meal thing. They probably were made to really be health as they were smothered in brown sugar with melted marshmallows on top. It was the only time during the year that we ate them. I suppose because of the sweet sugary special way they were made. I didn’t know they could be made any other way until I met southern cooking and experienced a sweet potato pie. Mmmmm, yum. A Google search for “Sweet Potato Recipes” will net hundreds of recipes for preparing sweet potatoes.

    The only other thing we did with sweet potatoes was to set them in a glass of water half immersed. The potato will sprout and begin growing a vine that will continue to grow as long as the sweet potato is given enough water. My Aunt grew one that she trained over the archway from her kitchen to the living room that eventually grew to a length of over ten feet. I’m not sure how long that took but it was quite amazing and very much the subject of conversation for visitors.

    Have a great sweet potato day.

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    • Bill says:

      Sweet potatoes are super delicious in sweet dishes like that. We just finished off a yummy sweet potato casserole yesterday. But they’re very versatile. Sometimes I make them with cajun spices to give them some kick in the other direction. They’re also great just plain baked or mashed. As for sweet potato pie, that’s hard to beat!

      They do vine like crazy. Clearing those vines out in order to harvest the potatoes is a major once-a-year chore around here.

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  3. Laurie Graves says:

    Sweet potatoes are pretty hard to grow in Maine, but I love them anyway!

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    • Bill says:

      Yeah, they love long hot summers. We plant ours (from slips) in June and harvest them in October before the first frost. That probably wouldn’t be possible in Maine.

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  4. Buffy says:

    How is the weather? Snow day?

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  5. bobraxton says:

    One at a time we buy sweet potato from the huge grocery conglomerate. At the D.C. church PC(USA) we are two weeks into the book “Food and Faith”

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  6. Lynda says:

    Still haven’t tried growing these, yet. I should, because I eat enough of them!

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  7. Ginny is one, lucky dog. I love sweet potatoes. –Curt

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    • Bill says:

      She gets a diet of mostly homegrown organic veggies, venison and organically-raised free range chicken. She eats better than most people. Sweet potatoes are a staple of her diet. Ours too.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love sweet potatoes and although I’m pretty far north – I’m not going to give up on trying to grow them…yet. We have been talking about doing Eliot Coleman style moveable greenhouses out at the farm [eventually] and I wonder if we could get a jump start on sweet potatoes in one of those.
    Our dog (and cats) love sweet potatoes too!

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    • Bill says:

      I’m not sure, but Eliot Coleman is a gardening genius. If anybody can grow sweet potatoes in Maine, he can. Hope you figure it out. They may be nature’s perfect homesteading food.

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