Eating sweet potato leaves
Few people in North America think of sweet potato leaves as a food crop.
My friend and colleague, Dr. Changzheng Wang, grew up in a peasant farm family in rural China, where sweet potato leaves were a regular part of the menu.
On the third Thursday of every month Kentucky State University hosts a full day of hands-on workshops on sustainable agriculture. Dr. Wang took advantage of today’s ‘Third Thursday Thing‘ to demonstrate the harvest and preparation of sweet potato greens. He collected the tender young leaves from the rapidly-growing sweet potato vines in our Energy Farm study, and stir fried them with a little soy sauce and ground beef. Delicious!
While we were snacking on the sweet potato tops, the plants are busy converting energy from sunlight into carbohydrate-rich tubers below the ground. We’ll harvest those in September, and they’ll store through the winter. They make an excellent food source, and anything extra can be made into ethanol.
Michael Bomford provides research and extension services related to organic agriculture and small-scale renewable energy production through Kentucky State University’s Land Grant Program. He thanks John Rodgers for collecting video footage of his presentation this afternoon.