I’m always looking for new ways to use my garden. After years of growing sweet potatoes I came across a recipe that called for the leaves. Sweet potato leaves are edible? Yes. Yes, they are.
The sweet potatoes slips I got this year were supposed to be a bush variety. While they haven’t thrown vines out of the sides of my beds as badly as they usually do: they certainly still vine, like a regular old sweet potato variety. These vines have taken over the beds they’re in. I have had to cut them back so that some of my other plants have access to the sun. But, what in the heck am I going to do with all of the leaves I cut?I roughly cut the leaves with kitchen shears.
This is where reading a lot of gardening blogs comes in handy! Sweet potato leaves can be used like chard or spinach, which is a totally new concept for me. Unlike a lot of semi edible greens that you can get from other vegetables: these are not full of toxins that need to be cooked out. These are also edible raw (I suggest roughly chopping and then crushing the leaves by hand in a zip lock bag with lemon juice, olive oil and parmesan cheese, if you want to go the fresh route.)I am subbing my sweet potato leaves in a spinach recipe. And no, these don’t taste how lawn mower clippings smell (like some uncommon greens do.) These are smooth and buttery with a fantastic flavor. The stems are edible too. If you’d like to add them: saute them before wilting the leaves.
This is the awesome part of growing your own food: you can eat a lot of different, very unique, greens that you’d never find in the store! It’s an unusual question that only gardeners tend to need an answer for. So this is how we cooked our sweet potato greens and I wouldn’t change a thing:
Garlic-Lemon Sweet Potato Greens
Ingredients 6 Cups Sweet Potato Leaves, roughly chopped
2 Tbsps Butter
2 Tbsps Olive Oil
2 Tbsps Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Heat oil on medium-low and add garlic
2. Heat until fragrant
3. Add lemon juice and sweet potato leaves
4. Cook until just wilted and still bright green
5. Plate and add parmesan
6. Serve warm
I hope you have a chance to try sweet potato leaves. I am now trying to figure out exactly how many of these leaves I can harvest before I affect the tubers! These leaves have had zero pest and disease issues, unlike my Swiss Chard, that the snails and caterpillars have been enjoying! Let me know know what you think of this unusual green!