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Sweet Potatoes: maybe the fountain of youth carbohydrate

Sweet potatoes are members of the morning glory family with one notable difference: they store sugars and starches in their roots. As someone who likes to produce his own food, I love this plant. You stick them in the ground, give them space to grow, and stand back for the magic to happen. The grow like a nasty weed and just before frost.... you are rewarded with bushel after bushel of healthy carb potatoes.
My fabulous landscape company provides me with the leaves they collect in the fall. Their trucks dump the leaves in turd like piles. All winter long, I dump chicken and duck poop on top of the long piles. The leaves make the ideal growing medium for sweet potatoes. The tubers pull out of the leaves easily, with the light touch of a pitch fork. If you have ever had to play hide and seek with sweet potatoes in harder than hell soil, you will appreciate my improved growing method.
The turd like piles are not much to look at early in the season, but, this plant is such a vigorous growing, soon they are entirely covered with vines. Yes, this plant is a vine and will vine out a great distance. As it vines, it drops roots, and as the season progresses, these dropped vines swell into big fat sweet potatoes. And, the turds are transformed into beautiful green hills covered with flowers.
As you can see, the vine itself is really beautiful. Different varieties have different leaf shapes and colors. But, the leaf does not hint as to the color of the tuber below. Long cultivated, there are many different types of sweet potato, white, purple, orange, pink, red, to name a few. And each type has its own flavor. The deep purple ones I grow almost have a fragrant flesh that makes for fantastic bake goods. The super huge white one I grow is better for fries and baking. They are all sweet potatoes but each has its own unique characteristics.
The vines produce wave after wave of fragrant flowers... which add to the beauty of the plant. When you see the vines covered with flowers, they just exude vitality. So, not only do the leaf turd piles become green mountains of future food, they are carpeted with purple morning glory like flowers.... and some are scented.
One more of the flower because i think they are so beautiful.
This is a really useful plant. The leaves can be eaten like spinach and are produced all season long. It does not harm the plant to harvest the leaves as you feel in the mood for a green stir fry. Most Americans have never eaten them, but, they are quite edible. Here is a video link to a super great woman who will help you cook the leaves. On top of that, when we harvest the tubers, the vines and leaves provide the ducks with weeks of succulent greens food that the ducks adore. Here you can see my laying ducks going to town on the vines. To ducks, sweet potato vines are a form of duck crack. They go mad for them.
And then there are the potatoes! When I say they are an abundant producer, I am not kidding. Each plant produces a bushel or more of big old sweet potatoes. They produce so many, the question becomes, what to do with them. So, we eat them, and, I boil them for the chickens. Its free chicken food and they love it. All the beta carotene in the sweet potatoes turns the yolks ultra orange, and added benefit.
Red, white, purple.... I like all the colors except orange!
When you see how vital the sweet potato plant is, it makes sense that it conveys that same vitality unto the person that eats them. Sometimes nature just makes sense. This plant is vigorous, it produces abundantly, and it seems have vigor and vitality to offer the person who eats them. Research reveals that in addition to providing complex carbs, the tubers are a stock pile of vitamins, minerals, and.... wait for it.... hormone like substances which may perpetuate youth. I did not care much about youth while I was one, but, as I approach OLD I care about it. I like to fill my diet with youth producing foods and this is one.
For the self sufficiency gardener, there could be no better food producer than the sweet potato. To make matters even better, when properly cured, they often last a year in my basement. The store really well! But, they do have to be cured. When we harvest them, ironically, we store them in Home Depot paper leaf bags. They then get put into a small house with a heater and we store them for about two weeks at about 90 degrees. They form a hard skin and with that hard skin, they can last a long, long time.

Disclaimer: The author makes no guarantees as to the the curative effect of any herb or tonic on this website, and no visitor should attempt to use any of the information herein provided as treatment for any illness, weakness, or disease without first consulting a physician or health care provider. Pregnant women should always consult first with a health care professional before taking any treatment.