Sweet Potatoes Grown by Nature Culture “All Natural” Garden Project
(No pesticides and no chemical fertilizers)
Each year, we grow sweet potatoes then harvest and store them to eat during the winter. Besides simple starches, sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta carotene,(a vitamin A equivalent nutrient), vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Pink and yellow varieties are high in carotene, the precursor of the vitamin A.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. Considering fiber content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium, the sweet potato ranked highest in nutritional value. According to these criteria, sweet potatoes earned 184 points, 100 points over the next on the list, the common potato.
Sweet potato varieties with dark orange flesh have more beta carotene than those with light colored flesh, and their increased cultivation is being encouraged in Africa, where vitamin A deficiency is a serious health problem. Despite the name "sweet", it may be a beneficial food for diabetics, as preliminary studies on animals have revealed that it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and to lower insulin resistance.
While not as common as the popular sweet potato tuberous root, the leaves are also edible. Sweet potato leaves improve respiratory and renal system function. They contain vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin B2. The darker the leaves the more Vitamin A...even more that cabbage. The leaves are excellent for babies, pregnant women and breast feeding mothers.
To prepare, strip the leaves from the branches. Wash and drain the leaves. The thin stems that attach the leaves to the branch are tender enough to eat, so there is no need to remove only the leaves.
Our sweet potato leaves and the stems attached to them are quite tasty, remarkably tender and have a delicate sweet, nicely balanced flavor...not even a hint of bitterness and none of the that strange astringency that greens like spinach and chard possess. We often snack on them raw while tending the garden. Try them out...you will agree, they make an excellent addition to any raw salad or stir-fry dish.