Sweet Spuds

What’s Happening…The Guide to CCCC Student Farm Sweet Potatoes

sm edit Covington Carver Bradshaw

I know we’re always talking about the weather, but it’s a very important topic when farming…temperature, humidity, precipitation…
In a mere two weeks we seem to have transitioned from Perfect Summer to Crisp Fall Weather…which is actually quite nice, isn’t it? Time to drink red wine and roast things!

sm edit All Purple Violetta

Highlights of what’s happening at the CCCC Student Farm…

Our farm manager Hillary informs me that the CSA is going to start up again next week. We’ve got five different kinds of sweet potatoes ‘curing’ right now, which should be making their way into those boxes.

We are picking the last of the okra. A body could still scrounge some tomatoes out of here if he or she wanted to…(We gave James, the security guard, a bag and told him to help himself; he likes the cherry tomatoes). I also went and picked a few. The little ones are so ripe they burst when you touch them…

We are harvesting the heck out of the peppers…Ancho, Anaheim, Poblano, Jalapeno, Hungarian Hot Wax…assorted sweet peppers like Chocolate…and they are gorgeous!

We’ve got the a couple varieties of green beans growing in the Northern Hoop House…
They are just beginning to get ripe. I picked a nice bunch of the haricots verts…which I find funny, because in French, haricots verts literally translates as ‘green beans’(but, of course, these are FRENCH…)

I must confess my love for the lil’ tiiiiiiiny cucumbers in the other Hoop House. These are Mexican sour gherkins. ‘Like a cuke…but not.’ says Hillary. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be much of a yield (they are are very VERY small) but they’re so darn cute!

Mexican sour gherkin

Mexican sour gherkin

Finally, I am going to illustrate the different types of sweet potato that were grown here at the CCCC Student Farm, because…well, because that’s why this blog exists.

I know there is an earlier blog post about the sweet potatoes, but it seems Hillary is fielding a lot of queries about the sweet potatoes, and the woman has got stuff TO DO, people.

sm edit All Purple …and because we had a fun impromptu photo shoot with the sweet potatoes. (How many times can I say ‘sweet potatoes’?)
So I’m passing onto you The Sweet Potato Low Down (thank you, Hillary) in a handy dandy chart form that you can print out and you’ll know exactly what that sweet potato is and what it is best used for. (Wouldn’t it be so cool to make BLUE MASHED sweet potatoes? Or PURPLE french fries???? I thought so, too.)
After being harvested, these potatoes need to ‘cure’ anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks. That’s what they’re doing right now, and those of you with CSA shares can look forward to these tasty tubers when the CSA starts up again at the end of October.

I also tested a couple out personally. The first night, a little sampling of each were par-boiled and simply sauteed with butter (thank you, Carlen).  This was a good way to figure out the texture of each…and I wish I could tell you but I was a little too far into my cups by that time (I do drink wine with dinner -sometimes before- and I may have had a wee bit much that first night.) Luckily, we have that chart I mentioned (see below!)

A par boiled sweet potato medley

A par boiled sweet potato medley

The second night, they were baked and again slathered with butter (I like butter). I had thought that the All Purple was the sweetest (then I remembered that I was drinking a little), but after eating it side by side with the Bradshaw, I had to retract that assessment.

sm edit Violetta Crop

A side note: they tend to change color a bit when you cook them. The bright-white of the Violetta tends to turn grey when cooked, but you can thwart that by adding a bit of acid to the water if you boil or par-boil them.The All Purple is supposed to turn blue when cooked, but both boiled and baked, it stayed lookin’ pretty deep purple to me…

Baked All Purple next to a baked Bradshaw (...with fried shrimp!)

Baked All Purple next to a baked Bradshaw (…with fried shrimp!)

In a nutshell, the Violetta, All Purple and Carver are the firmest, with a range of sweetness. Although, the All Purple is the ‘least sweet’ this does not mean ‘devoid of’… and the firm flesh should give it the right consistency to hold up to, say, making french fries…

Pink and purple streaks...

Pink and purple streaks…

The Bradshaw and the Covington are more ‘what we are used to’ in a sweet potato: sweet, moist and orange…

sm edit Covington2

sm edit Bradshaw

VARIETY SKIN COLOR FLESH COLOR FLESH COLOR (When cooked) FLESH TEXTURE COOKING SUGGESTIONS
Violetta Light purple White Ivory/grey Firm, starchy, very sweet Fries, home fries, stews, hash, tempura
All Purple Dark purple Purple Blue Firm, not super sweet Pies, mashed, roasted, pureed, soups
Carver Light brown/tan pink Pale orange, pink and purple streaks Orange turns to yellow Firm, starchy, sweet Fries, roasted, stews and soups, hash
Covington Rich brown/red Orange Orange Moist, very sweet Pies, mashed, pureed, soups
Bradshaw Reddish-brown Orange Orange Sweet, moist Baked, mashed, pureed, pies

Take it and run with it! Hope this helps.

– Jen Kidwell

October 23, 2013

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