Community Resilience, Self-Reliance, Renewable Energy & Cooperation
Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz
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Sweet potatoes are an ancient food crop; a staple that has sustained and nourished mankind for thousands of years. Highly nutritious, sweet potatoes are the seventh most important food crop in the world. Throughout the ages these sweet, orange, red and sometimes golden roots were valued so highly by early man, that they were often used as a form currency and as a token of friendship between cultures. Today, this weirdly-shaped “potato” is making a comeback with home gardeners - and for good reason.
Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatus) belong to the Morning Glory (Convolvulaceae) family of plants. Within this family are many genera, of which Ipomoea is but one genus. The Ipomoea genera includes species such as moonflower (I. alba) and cardinal climber (I. multifida). Sweet potatoes and most common morning glories belong to the species batatus. In most gardens, this species is grown as an annual or tender perennial. All batatus have twining vines and large, showy trumpet-shaped flowers and distinctive heart-shaped leaves held aloft by long succulent stems.
With the popularity of ornamental varieties of sweet potato on the market today, there is some confusion as to which sweet potatoes are edible and which are not. Since some members of this family are poisonous, eat only the tuberous roots and leaves of garden-variety sweet potatoes, just to be safe.
And eat it you may, for true sweet potatoes are edible from top to bottom....
Read the entire article at Show Me Oz
Jill Henderson is an artist, author and naturalist with a passion for wild edible and medicinal plants, organic gardening, seed saving and sustainable agriculture. She currently authors and edits the blog Show Me Oz: The Very Best of the Ozarks (http://showmeoz.wordpress.com), which focuses on building community around sustainable ideals relevant to the people of the Ozarks region and beyond. She has written three books: The Healing Power of Kitchen Herbs, The Garden Seed Saving Guide and A Journey of Seasons. Available in print and ebook.