It’s finally happened. After one year and one heartbreak, we have finally tasted the deliciousness of sweet potato leaves. We grew sweet potatoes last year and right when we were about to pick and cook the greens up, a deer came through and cleaned us out. Because our sweet potato patch was small, we never had enough green to try again. Eight weeks ago, we planted potatoes and sweet potatoes in our backyard garden bed. Now, it’s a sea of green as the sweet potato vines have grown and found their way around the green beans creating a living mulch.
We were dorkishly excited about the whole process. I wish I could say it was the buildup of anticipation from the year before, but let’s get real, this is just the kind of thing gets us going. Sweet potato leaves are loaded with vitamin K, vitamin B6, fiber, potassium and manganese. Just don’t over harvest the leaves as it can hurt your sweet potato harvest.
You have to love a plant you can eat top to tail. Thanks to Linda Ly and The CSA Cookbook, we are not only discovering more vegetables that can be completely used as a whole, but we are also learning ways of cooking them up. Below is the recipe we used in our first round of cooking sweet potato greens. As tasty as it was, next time we cook these leaves as a side dish, we are going straight to the recipe from The CSA Cookbook.
Maple Pecan Sweet Potato Greens
8 cups, rinsed sweet potato leaves
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons crushed pecans (optional)
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir in the onion and garlic. Cook and stir until the onion softens and turns translucent about 5 minutes.
Stir in the sugar, vinegar, maple syrup, and vegetable stock bringing the mix to a boil over high heat.
Then, add in the sweet potato leaves and cook them until wilted (about 5 minutes).
Sprinkle with pecans before serving.
I don’t know how appealing cooked greens can appear, but I assure you this is a delightful dish. We ate ours with salmon and a stir-fry using green beans from the garden. We were so hungry before this meal we forgot to add the pecans. It is something the both of us thought would take these sweet potato leaves to the next level. When don’t pecans and maple syrup go together?
With our sweet potatoes safely growing within our fenced-in backyard, we look forward to trying these leaves a number of ways this summer.