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Edibility of ornamental Ipomoea batatas?

bae at cs.toronto.no-uce.edu bae at cs.toronto.no-uce.edu
Sat Dec 4 11:31:57 EST 2004

In article <318d30F394978U1 at individual.net>,
Phred <ppnerkDELETETHIS at yahoo.com> wrote:
>In article <2004Dec1.110135.2587 at jarvis.cs.toronto.edu>, bae at cs.toronto.no-uce.edu wrote:
>>White sweet potatoes seem to be the most popular kinds in Korea and Japan.
>>The Korean greengrocers here all stock them and no other kinds.  The ones
>>I see all have red skin.  I find them dry and bland tasting, much inferior 
>>to the usual moist orange or yellow fleshed kind, but perhaps in Korean
>>and Japanese cuisine they are prepared in a way that takes advantage of
>>the difference in culinary properties.
>The sweet bucks of my childhood (grown by my uncle and cooked with the 
>roast chook for that special Sunday dinner -- at midday, in the 
>tropics, for crissake! ) had a slightly greenish tinge internally 
>when cooked and a very slightly "stringy" texture (more visual than 
>physical).  I don't remember their skin colour, but they were 
>*delicious* with a crisp outer shell from the oven roasting. :-)

Interesting. IIRC, white sweet potatoes are sometimes recommended as a
substitute for "real" potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) in climates too hot to
grow the latter.  They are a bit similar -- dry and starchy.

>I've got a patch of the orange fleshed kind in the backyard here; but 
>I admit they're basically just going wild (and doing it very tough due 
>to high temperatures and no rain) and I rarely think to harvest some 
>for a feed.

They are very nutritious -- extremely high in carotenes.  I cook them
whole in a covered container in the microwave and eat them hot or cold
with salt and pepper.  The very moist kind, with "melting" texture, are
especially good this way.

>I'm told by a bloke who was breeding them here that the very sweet, 
>orange types are often used as a sweet (e.g. in desserts) in other 
>parts of the world; but it's not a common way of using them here in Oz 

They are sometimes "candied", i.e. peeled, cut into chunks and baked in
a way that coats them with a sugary glaze, in the southern US.  They
can also be used to make sweet potato pies, by substituting mashed
sweet potato for pumpkin or squash in a pumpkin pie recipe.

(A little more ethnobotany for non-North Americans:  a pumpkin pie is
made by baking a mix of pureed squash (Cucurbita moschata or C.maxima
is generally better for this than C.pepo), milk, eggs, molasses and
spices like cinnamon and ginger with only a lower crust.  For a
healthier version, cut back on the eggs, use low fat milk and skip the
crust entirely.  By not using a crust, you not only avoid loads of fat
but you can "bake" it in the microwave.  Pumpkin pies are often served
with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, but you can certainly skip
that as well.)

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