Posts Tagged ‘Ipomoea Batatas’

The spud-producing sweet potato vine.

As I was clearing out my exterior containers for the winter, I came across a sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) “potato”.  I’ve seen spuds from these ornamental vines before but never thought to try to consume them.  I know they are edible but for some reason it seems weird to eat them!

The potato!

I found the potato, shown above, as I was digging through the potting soil, loosening it up in preparation for spring planting.  It looked identical to a normal potato you would find in the grocery store.  Most of the previous potatoes I’ve found from Ipomoea vines are a bright pinkish-purple color.   They come in all sorts of weird shapes more reminiscent of sweet potatoes than baking potatoes.

Wrapped with a moist paper towel, ready to be microwave cooked!

To prepare this potato for consumption, I washed it thoroughly and wrapped it with a moist paper towel to prevent potential explosion splatter in the microwave.  It only took 2 minutes in the microwave to cook very well.  I bet it would have been done in a 1 min 30 sec.

Ready to eat!

With the only seasonings of butter, pepper, and salt, the sweet potato vine potato tasted exactly like a normal potato with a few hints of sweet potato thrown in there. While you aren’t going to get a huge harvest from a single sweet potato vine, it’s still fun to eat what you grow yourself, especially after you enjoyed the plant all summer long. Dig in!

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I often say that gardening is the best kind of therapy. It is cheap, and plants always listen. There is no prognosis, diagnosis, or prescription at the end of a day of gardening, and the mixture of aesthetic bliss mixed in with the honest sweat on your brow goes beyond the feeling of satisfaction.  

I  find that I take the most joy out of gardening by noticing the small details. When I worked on my gardens in Pennsylvania, my cat was my garden companion, and I was in such a relaxed state when I was pulling the thistles out of my perennial borders with my delightfully obese orange tabby by my side. In New York, my garden is now in the shape of a 50 square foot terrace, limited to several containers with room for a small grill and cafe seating for two.

While cleaning up the annuals for fall, I pulled out the Ipomoea batatas (Sweet Potato Vine) to find little sweet potato tubers growing in my containers. Of course I have had this happen in planting beds in the country, but I didn’t expect to find so many growing in my limited container space. I have never heard of anyone eating the tubers of the ornamental sweet potato vines, and don’t recommend it as these plants have been cultivated for their showy qualities as opposed to their agrarian counterparts. Regardless, it is fun to find these little surprises in the garden. Perhaps this spring I will try some actual veggies on the terrace in addition to my herbs.


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