Monday, October 26, 2009

Eating Ornamental Sweet Potatoes

Last October I did a post, called, "Yes, you can eat Potato Vine, Marguerite." Over the year, I've noticed on my stat counter that the search that leads the most people to my blog is whether ornamental sweet potatoes are edible. I've invited people who don't blog to leave anonymous comments to let me know whether they tried them, but no one has. The guy who emailed me letting me know he was going to eat his, never came back to say if he liked it.

This year, I was set to experiment with different varieties of ornamental sweet potatoes to compare how they taste. I had several problems that prevented me from using good scientific methods. First, some of the tags got misplaced. Then, the day I harvested them, our grandson was over. I don't remember why, but I ended up going inside with Grandson, and asking Larry to go around to take photos of the potatoes that I had dug up and left on the dirt in their pots. Instead, he put the potatoes in sacks and brought them in. It has taken the whole evening to do this post, but I think I have figured out which potatoes came from which plants.

The photos of the plants are from July 7, 2009. The first one shows the Georgia Jet and Beauregard sweet potatoes in the wash tubs, which I've already posted the harvest of, and the reddish ornamental one in the back is Ace of Spades.

These light colored potatoes in my hand came from the above Ace of Spades plant.

I'm not sure what kind of sweet potato this is. I couldn't find it when I tried looking it up. Its potatoes were reddish, so it's something different from Ace of Spades. I thought it might be Blackie, but the leaves are not shaped the same.

Here's the potato from the above plant. I would have gotten a better photo if Larry hadn't been so helpful in picking them up.

Here is this year's Marguerite.

I only got one potato from it, probably because of all the roots from the cosmos.

Because of my experience with sweet potatoes exploding in the microwave, even though I had poked them, I decided to convection bake these at 350 degrees. I poked them, and put them all on a pizza pan, taking the smaller ones off after about 20 minutes. The others took about 15 more minutes. I had a pork roast on the shelf above them, so that could have affected the time.

The small one on the left is from the plant by the shed that had lisianthus and ageratums in it. Next, going clockwise are, Marguerite, the 2 Ace of Spades, and the larger ones are Georgia Jet, and Beauregard on the bottom.

I sprayed the potatoes with margarine, and put a touch of salt and ground some pepper on them. The reddish potatoes are from the plant by the shed. The texture was not the best, but the flavor was pretty good. Next, the Marguerite, was the sweetest of the assortment. The texture was much better than the microwaved one last year. It was my favorite on the plate. The 2 non-ornamental sweet potatoes were good, but I don't remember there being much difference in taste between them. The Ace of Spades were mild, and had good texture.

So, if you find this doing a search to see if ornamental sweet potatoes are edible, don't just stop here. There are other articles where you may find some varietes that shouldn't be eaten, but if you have some of the ones I list here, try them, and see if you like them. I would love it if you would come back and leave a comment. If you don't have a blog, you can check the "anonymous" box, and then leave your comment. Lynda, from Rustyhoe recently posted a photo of her ornamental sweet potato, and said she was going to try eating it. If you are a blogger and have done a similar post or are going to, let me know, and I'll link to it.

Oh, and I've read about saving the roots for next year. I still have some that are too small to eat. I'll have to find out how to store them for the winter.

(I did not find any potatoes under this tricolor sweet potato vine. This photo is from July.)


  1. Sue~~ This so interesting. I wondered if they were edible. Marguerite sounds like it would be my favorite. :)

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog, this is a very interesting post! I hope you receive some feedback from fellow gardeners. Your flower gardens are gorgeous!!

  3. I didn't know that you could eat them...I will have to look at mine and see if there are any there...Thanks Sue...

  4. I do love Sweet potatoes too...
    Thanks for such an interesting post.

  5. You had a lot of varieties to taste. I am getting hungry for Thanksgiving now!
    I like the foliage of sweet potato vine. Very fresh looking.

  6. Sue, I'll be stickin' with real 'tators. ;-) Larry

  7. Such an interesting post....I have really learnt a lot.....

    I love sweet potato......

  8. Wow, I always thought ornamental sweet potatoes were just.. well.. ornamental!

    And they look so pretty on the plate too.

    Imagine the fun you could have if you had a bunch of each kind, and you creamed them all up with some butter, and put them in ziplock bags with a corner cut off.

    You make a "shepherds pie" on the bottom of a glass casserole, cover it with a thin layer of mashed russets, then pipe designs on with the sweet potatoes. You could do flowers, or do individual pies for kids with each persons name on them, you could have all sorts of fun.

  9. I was wondering how they would turn out. I never even thought about sweet potato vine tubers being edible.

  10. An interesting and fun post, Sue, and as much as I love sweet potatoes, ornamentals are something I have never thought of eating. Thank you ... lots of time and effort went into your post :)

  11. Hi Sue, I wouldn't have thought you could eat these tubers... I tried overwintering a couple last Winter, but failed (or at least, they failed to grow). Perhaps eating them is the best idea, after all! ha.

  12. Hi friends,
    Thank you for the comments. Larry is my husband, by the way, who humored me by taking a bite of each one, but I don't remember now what he said. I just asked him, and he said he didn't remember either. He said sweet potatoes are sweet potatoes, what's there to say about them? LOL Like he said, he prefers other tators.

    Troy, I want to grow more next year, and put fewer flowers with them. As far as getting fancy, I'll have to see if I remember and am inclined to try it. I bet our grandson would be old enough to like to try that next year.

  13. You can't beat a plant that's not only decorative but tasty as well. :)

  14. What a fascinating post! I love that you took photos of them before and after being cooked. How interesting to see the different colors and read your thoughts about taste and texture.

  15. today, i went to add a plant to a container I have been growing sweet potato vine in since spring, and SURPRISE-- sweet potatoes under the soil! i honestly did not realize that was going to happen, since I purchased the plants strictly for their appearance. anyway, i decided to google more info on whether or not i could "harvest" and eat my potato(es), and that is what led me here. thank you for sharing your experiment with us! way cool!

  16. Hi Sara,
    For some reason, I don't remember getting an email notifying me about your comment. I just realized there were some that needed approval. I clicked on your name, but it looks like you don't have a blog. Thanks for your comment on this post. I have a link in my sidebar to get to this year's post and the others I have done on eating ornamental sweet potatoes. Please let me know if you ended up cooking and eating yours.


  17. Silly me, I just read my email, and saw that you just sent the comment this evening.

  18. Hello everyone, Rhonda here :) This is my first post on any blog.! Just had to share this info. I grow the beautiful Margarite. We moved from central FL to southern. pulled up a few pieces of vine to take to our new house.. it has grown & spread everywhere! I nip a piece and stick it in the dirt to decorate my whole yard ~ plant it around all my trees. The potoatoes are Absolutely edible. We had some yesterday morning. I cubed them real small and made hash browns...sauteed onions with them, seasoned with garlic salt and black pepper. They were fantastic and to grow them yourself is Eden on Earth! The differences I notice from our normal Idaho/russet potatoes are: They grow irregularly, with some deep crevices,very odd looked exactly like a human heart!, skin is red, potato is harder to cut. The taste is sweeter than a regualar potato but not as sweet as the red sweet potato that we are used too. I have done lots of reading online to find out about eating them as mine have grown huge. There is no need to bother trying to overwinter the potatoes/tubers and go through all that hassle. Take some cuttings from your vine and root them and have them as house plants to over winter. (originally from Pgh. so I know all about overwintering to save my sweet plants!) Just know.. Any little cutting stuck in the ground will take. I even tried a single leaf and one they love to spread as far as you will let them but are also easy to pull out when they get out of hand and try and take over the whole place!! The colors are beautiful, the flowers are precious (lilac morning glory) and the potato will feed your family... what an amazing miracle plant!! Wouldn't be surprised to find out it has medicinal uses as well.. hmmm, maybe my next online! Love that sweet potato vine! I have pix of everything..vine all over my yard, potatoes bigger than my hand, and hash browns in the pot, but i don't see where to upload them here? Anyway, I hope this helps.. Rhonda

  19. Hi Rhonda,
    I'm glad you left a comment. Do you also have a blog? I'm thinking you don't, since you didn't have link. Thanks for sharing your experiences with sweet potato vines. I keep thinking I'm going to root some to try to overwinter, but I always forget. Maybe next year I will remember.


I welcome comments and questions from anyone, including those who do it anonymously. Some people find my posts by doing searches, and I like hearing from them. I guess spammers won't even read this message, but I will delete spam as soon as I see it.