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carmen
Thursday, February 21, 2008, 9:52am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

Gatherer SunshineCoast,Australia
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Sweet potato leaves show up as a superfood for gatherers. I'm just wondering how to prepare them? Given that they exude a milky sap, figured not so good raw? Also do you trim the stalks off & only use the really young leaves? At the moment we have heaps of leaf growth on our vines, and only tiny baby sweetpotatoes which the native rodents/marsupials will eat before we can.... just as well sweet potato is a blackdot avoid. Can you eat a heap of leaves, say wilted, or do they need to be well cooked (added into soup/casserole etc)?
thanks in advance!


carmen
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Eric
Thursday, February 21, 2008, 9:58am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

Kyosha Nim
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I was wondering where in the WORLD you get these in the first place...


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funkymuse
Thursday, February 21, 2008, 1:55pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Eric
I was wondering where in the WORLD you get these in the first place...


my thought exactly!
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Schluggell
Thursday, February 21, 2008, 1:58pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from carmen
Sweet potato leaves..Given that they exude a milky sap, figured not so good raw?..


Wondering if maybe these are actually Yam leaves instead?
Refer to numerous old threads as to the confusion between True Sweet Potato and True Yam...

Either leaf though I would doubt should be really used raw, however, due to Oxalates - Though I have witnessed various types of pickled varieties.





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Carol the Dabbler
Thursday, February 21, 2008, 5:01pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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I doubt VERY much that the book would be referring to leaves from the true yam as "sweet potato leaves."  Here in the US, sweet potatoes are often called yams, but I have never heard true yams called sweet potatoes!  So I would have to assume that "sweet potato leaves" are the leaves from the sweet potato plant!

There may be some cuisines that commonly use sweet potato leaves, in which case markets catering to those cuisines might sell the leaves, fresh, frozen, or canned.  Just a guess.

For most of us, though, the best/only to get sweet potato leaves is to grow the plants, as Carmen is doing.  They are quite attractive vines, actually, and could be grown on a trellis if your garden space is limited.  Just be sure NOT to grow them near morning glories, which are related and similar looking -- but toxic!


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gulfcoastguy
Thursday, February 21, 2008, 5:05pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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We used to grow sweet potatos when I was a kid. The rabbits loved the vines. When we would leave for the weekend we used to stuff their cages with vines. Never tried to eat the leaves ourselves, that was what turnips and collards were for.
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Carol the Dabbler
Thursday, February 21, 2008, 5:10pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Regarding the raw vs. cooked question, here's all I've been able to find (from Wikipedia):

Quoted Text
Sweet potato leaves are a common side dish in Taiwanese cuisine, often boiled with garlic and vegetable oil and dashed with salt before serving. They are commonly found at biŗndāng restaurants, as well as dishes featuring the sweet potato root.

The young leaves and vine tips of sweet potato leaves are widely consumed as a vegetable West African countries (Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia for example). According to FAO leaflet No. 13 - 1990, sweet potato leaves and shoots are a good source of vitamins A, C, and B2 (Riboflavin), and according to research done by A. KHACHATRYAN, are an excellent source of lutein.


By the way, several varieties of ORNAMENTAL sweet potato plants have become popular recently for flower beds and pots.  The leaves of these varieties come in a variety of shapes and are typically pale yellow-green or dark reddish purple.  I have read (in Larry Hodgson's book Annuals for Every Purpose) that the ornamental varieties produce edible roots, so I would assume that they are true sweet potatoes, and that the leaves would therefore also be edible.  I would guess, however, that the dark-green leaves of regular vegetable-garden varieties would be more nutritious.


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shoulderblade
Thursday, February 21, 2008, 5:49pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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I get dried sweet potato vines and leaves at a local Korean/Japanese food store. Leaves can be crumbled up by hand and soaked for an hour or two and then added to a soup or stew. Little actual cooking is needed, I think.

Vines I usually soak either overnight or morning to evening and add to a soup or stew that is going to be cooked well. To get them very soft it might be an idea to steam them a little first.

According to the label they are an excellent source of Calcium.





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674
Thursday, February 21, 2008, 9:27pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator
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That's right, you can usually get them at Asian markets.  Depending on the season, you can get them fresh.  I believe that the young tender leaves are best.
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carmen
Friday, February 22, 2008, 2:03am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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oh yeh, sweet potatoes they are definitely - the orange flesh variety. I will add a heap of young leaves to the next casserole - probably instead of collards in with turkey drumsticks & cranberry.  Still not so sure about the stalks & vines - think the really green part of the plant might be best & not tough! thanks for the replies.
Wow, this is our third rain-free day since early Dec, I love the rain but even the garden was starting to rot away...the tender plants can get sunburnt now!


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shoulderblade
Friday, February 22, 2008, 2:13am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from carmen
  Still not so sure about the stalks & vines - think the really green part of the plant might be best & not tough! thanks for the replies.


The vines, at least, have a place in Eastern cooking. If you want really soft product you may have to soak and steam. As I mentioned earlier they are a good source of Calcium and very likely good source of fibre. There is also a derived Eastern product called Sweet potato starch. Like spaghetti but made of complex, low glycemic starch, good for noodles.






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accidental_chef
Friday, February 22, 2008, 4:09am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from carmen
Sweet potato leaves show up as a superfood for gatherers. I'm just wondering how to prepare them? Given that they exude a milky sap, figured not so good raw? Also do you trim the stalks off & only use the really young leaves? At the moment we have heaps of leaf growth on our vines, and only tiny baby sweetpotatoes which the native rodents/marsupials will eat before we can.... just as well sweet potato is a blackdot avoid. Can you eat a heap of leaves, say wilted, or do they need to be well cooked (added into soup/casserole etc)?
thanks in advance!


Carmen, sweet potato leaves are usually not eaten raw. The lower portions of the stem are discarded. Usually the tips are a lighter green that the tops. You test the freshness like you test the freshness of Asparagus. Melissa gave a good tip: bend the stalk and if it breaks it's old. So that applies to sweet potato leaves stem as well.

Here are the different ways of cooking it:

1. chop themm, and steam it and then add compliant spices/sauces.
2. in a cast iron pot add 1/4tsp turmeric, a pinch of sodium bi carb and salt to taste and a bit of water. Chop SP leaves & stem finely and add to the pot and add just enough water. Close the pot and bring to boil. Give it a good stir, close the pot, redice the flame and let it cook till leaves are tender.

Remove from fire. If there is excess water drain and keep aside. Mash the cooked greens thoroughly.

You now use this mashed greens + the drained water as a base for many dishes. If you know what Palak(spinach/greens) Paneer(Indian Cottage cheese) is (a very popular dish which North Indian restaurants worldwide serve) you can make that with SP leaves.

Have your home made Paneer/Cottage Cheese or even deep fried Tofu (for those who can have them)ready.

Add a compliant thickener-rice flour, arrow root etc., make a thickish paste and add to the pot with the mashed leaves. Mix well, bring to simmer, and remove from fire. Add the Paneer/Tofu bits, check for salt.

Garnishing: Burst black mustard seeds in compliant oil, add dried red chillies and a dash of asofoetida and add to the mix. There are variations where people add chopped onions/garlic. Adding julienned Ginger & using green chillies instead of dried chillies gives it totally different kind of flavour. And the use of 1 tsp of ghee of course gives it that special taste.

3. add chopped SPleaves to soups and cassaroles.

I dont live in the U.S. but I'm assuming that SP leaves will be available in Asian stores.  


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accidental_chef
Friday, February 22, 2008, 4:10am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Eric
I was wondering where in the WORLD you get these in the first place...


Ah...now you know the pain we BTD/GTD-ers outside America & Europe experience   . Just kidding..


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carmen
Friday, February 22, 2008, 4:44am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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thanks accidental_chef,
Palak paneer sounds great - if it's anything like the spinach then it'll become a regular for us. If just steaming the leaves, they don't need to be parcooked in water which is then discarded like for oxalate leafy greens? I'm guessing you keep steaming them until really soft, rather than just wilted a bit? Sounds like SP leaves need more rather than less cooking generally.
I'm very keen to add this to our meals & guess just a bit hesitant to serve up something that might upset the digestion applecart by incorrect preparation. DH reacts badly to lots of stuff, sigh.

cheers


carmen
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Carol the Dabbler
Friday, February 22, 2008, 5:24am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from accidental_chef
2. in a cast iron pot add 1/4tsp turmeric, a pinch of sodium bi carb and salt to taste and a bit of water. Chop SP leaves & stem finely and add to the pot and add just enough water. Close the pot and bring to boil. Give it a good stir, close the pot, redice the flame and let it cook till leaves are tender.


I'm assuming that the sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is added to preserve the bright green color of the leaves?  That used to be a common way of cooking veggies here in the U.S., but then it was discovered that the soda causes nutrients to be lost in cooking, so its use is no longer recommended.  I have no experience with sweet potato leaves, however (outside of the garden, that is).

Accidental Chef, is there some other reason for using the soda in this particular case?



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accidental_chef
Friday, February 22, 2008, 6:33am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Carmen, the SP leaves doesnt require a lot fo steaming or pre cooking. If it's "toughness" you're wondering about, they aren't.

Carol, I feel that a pinch of baking soda will not affect the nutrients as compared to the actual cooking itself. Baking soda is alkaline and helps with digestion of green leafy vegetables. Turmeric brings out the colour in vegetables (in addition to many other benefits).


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Schluggell
Friday, February 22, 2008, 1:51pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Carol the Dabbler
I'm assuming that the sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is added to preserve the bright green color of the leaves? ..


It may do that - But typically/mainly when greens are cooked with NaHCO3 is to neutralize the Oxalic Acid.

Sweet Potato leaves from the above posted asian recipes is not the Sweet Potato in US...



Herr SchlŁggell -- Establish a Garden; Cultivate Community. "To see things in the seed, that is genius. He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much. The way to do is to be." -Lao Tzu
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Carol the Dabbler
Friday, February 22, 2008, 4:49pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Schluggell
Sweet Potato leaves from the above posted asian recipes is not the Sweet Potato in US.


Are you sure?  From everything I've been reading, sweet potatoes (despite being native to this hemisphere) are the same all over the world, and the term is not used for any other vegetable.  It's "yams" that you have to be careful about.



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carmen
Monday, February 25, 2008, 1:22am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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ok, still alive. We had steamed tips and young leaves last night with dinner. There was a lot of milky sap after picking from the garden so I briefly soaked and rinsed a couple of times before steaming. DH was very wary but said it tastes a bit like spinach, would eat it again. Definitely needs something else to flavour it up - ghee or garlic/spices as previously suggested. Think it would taste bad if cooked too long and served plain but probably ok in with other veg like casserole or soup etc. I'm going to be looking for lots of young tips now, our vines will have to become bushy to survive!


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You can grow your own leaves.  Take a small sweet potato, put three or four toothpicks around it, and suspend it over a glass so the part of the potato is under water.  Change the water occasionally.  It'll grow roots and vines and you can harvest it right off your kitchen windowsill.


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Quoted from Ribbit
You can grow your own leaves.  Take a small sweet potato, put three or four toothpicks around it, and suspend it over a glass so the part of the potato is under water.  Change the water occasionally.  It'll grow roots and vines and you can harvest it right off your kitchen windowsill.


Thank you for the tip, Ribbit.


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Spring
Wednesday, February 27, 2008, 3:59pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Ribbit
You can grow your own leaves.......  It'll grow roots and vines and you can harvest it right off your kitchen windowsill.


Ribbit, I had forgotten all about learning how to do this when we were kids! Easy, easy! Thanks, I might just do this when I get everything back to normal in my kitchen.
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Bekki Shining Bearheart
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Thanks for answering this question, Right now I can't do them, but maybe later!

In SE Ohio, we grow our own sweet potatoes, and it would be easy to harvest leaves. My husband, a Nomad, can have them, and loves to cook Indian and Chinese food (he is quite good at it). So I think I will make sure he sees this. He loves a culinary challenge.

Yam: I grow wild yam in my garden, an important herb for women because of the phytoestrogens-- I'm guessing that a culinary yam would be similar but with a larger tuber.

I wonder how the good Dr. feels about the medicinal for those who can't eat the culinary? Anyone know?
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I wonder how the good Dr. feels about the medicinal for those who can't eat the culinary? Anyone know?


In the Blood Type Encyclopedia. He recommends it Mennopause support type 0s
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for those who can t have the yams, like As, there s soy!!!
they do well on it, instead.
that s how Dr D feels about the medicinal for those who can't eat the culinary....


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