Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sweet Work

Do you remember the commercial in which a nicely dressed woman sips a cup of tea while chatting with friends and says, "I'm cleaning my oven!" I feel a little like that when I say, "I'm curing my sweet potatoes!"

For the past few days, they have been kept in the back of my car, first out in the sunny parking lot at work, and now on the driveway, taking advantage of the greenhouse-effect to provide the warmth that will help them convert starch to sugar and toughen that thin skin. In a week or two, they will be fully cured and ready to fill a basket on the kitchen floor, where they will be easily accessible for meals.
Chipmunks like sweet potatoes.

I dug up the sweet potato patch on Wednesday evening, and in spite of "sharing" with the chipmunks I ended up with 41.5 pounds of tubers. That isn't as much as it should have been, but the chipmunks were hungry.

The weight doesn't include the ABC (Already Been Chewed) tubers, and there may still be a few good tubers left in the ground that will turn up in the next couple of weeks as I prepare that space for garlic, shallots, and onions.

Meanwhile, we are beginning to bring radishes and little bits of kale and lettuce into the kitchen. As the seasons change, our meals change, too, to reflect the different harvests that our garden provides. It's always a little sad to have to let go of the fresh tomatoes and peppers, but we have plenty of those dehydrated, stored in jars, and more in the freezer, for when we need them.

I hope that other gardeners are enjoying the change to cooler-season crops!


  1. We had a nice mess of turnip greens with our pork chops just the other night. I've grown sweet potatoes twice and thought they were way to starchy. Did I make a bone headed move and not cure them?

  2. Maybe. Some varieties are sweeter than others (if you grew Beauregard, which is the most readily available variety around here, the tubers should have been very sweet); some take longer to reach maturity (120+ days) and if they were harvested too soon they might be less sweet; they need to be stored warmer than white potatoes -- exposure to less than 55 degree temps can mess up the sugar content and the texture (I store mine in a big basket in the kitchen); and curing at a fairly high temperature is needed to fully develop the sugars. Does any of that seem likely to have affected your sweet potatoes?

    Sounds as though the rest of your garden is doing well -- I bet the greens were delicious! Thanks for stopping by.



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