Sweet Potato Leaves as Bonus Crop

Although I’ve eaten sweet potato leaves in an Asian restaurant, I’m late to them as a shopper and cook. Kemp and Esther are the Lewis & Clark on that angle. So after trying them on my own stove and table Friday night, I’ll just say they live up to the flavor/texture billing but would add that I’d separate the leaves from the stems next time. (As with embittered spinach, the two parts need to be cooked differently.) I’m also encouraged to learn they’re as nutritious as sweet potatoes themselves are. But what interests me is how they also could represent another move by farmers to extract the maximum yield from every crop. (Can you say baby corn?) Every day there’s another scare story about an overpopulated world running out of food, not least because honeybees are disappearing and water is growing scarcer and land is being converted to development etc. (etc.) I have my doubts about GMOs as the answer, even though the NYTimes ran a rational op-ed yesterday on how rice could be made both more available and more nutritious by adapting it to add DNA to provide Vitamin A. As a bit of a neurotic, I’d rather eat food without genetic bacteria added. Selling another part of a plant, though, just makes sense. Definitely this time of a year a grower can make more from squash blossoms than from those Louisville Slugger-size zucchini everyone loves to hate. . .

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