Friday, November 5, 2010

My Annual Sweet Potato Vine Taste Testing (Yes, You Can Eat Ornamental Sweet Potatoes)

I've mentioned that a lot of people have come to my blog by doing a search to see if ornamental sweet potatoes are edible.  I've always wondered if they decided to try them or not, because there are not many sources that say they are edible.  The fact of the matter, is that most of the potatoes turn out small, and may not be worth it for those who are not very patient with washing the little things.

The first photos were taken October 26th, when it looked like we were going to have a frost.  I did not plant flowers in with the ornamental sweet potatoes, like I have in the past, hoping the potatoes would be good sized.  The 'Little Blackie' ended up having a few blooms off on on much of the season, which I enjoyed. Can you see the bloom in the middle of the tub on the right side?

 After starting to pull up the plants, I found this 'Bronze' Sweet Potato that had been almost buried by the other vines.  It is the vine that is going up the fence on the left side of the above photo.  I did the harvesting myself, and took photos of which was which so that they wouldn't get mixed together like they did last year.

 These are the potatoes from the 'Bronze' plant.

This is 'Illusion Midnight Lace'.  I was amazed at all of the thin and thick roots that weren't developed into potatoes.

Most of the potatoes were quite small, so not planting flowers with them didn't seem to make a difference.  Maybe they would have been larger if I'd planted fewer plants in the pots.

The 'Marguerite' gave me a nice sized potato and a small one.  I was going to try cooking those thick roots, but they dried out, since I didn't get to them until today.

I had also stuck a sweet potato plant in that is grown for food, but it was so crowded, it only produced this one potato.

The rest of the photos were taken today.

See how organized I was?  I had to be in order to remember which potato was which.  I baked the larger potato with some regular sweet potatoes we had dug another day.  By comparing the size of the potatoes to the tags, you can see they were small.  Two years in a row,  I microwaved them, and they splattered.  Last year, I convection baked them in my electric oven.  This year, I baked them in the gas oven we now have.  I decided not to use the convection feature this time.

I forgot to pay attention to how long I baked them, but it was probably around 20 minutes.  I arranged them on the plate in the same order as the tags.  (When I read one of my previous posts, I saw I had baked the smaller ones 20 minutes.)

I sprayed them with a little margarine, and put some freshly ground pepper on them.

I called Larry up from his man cave to take a few photos.  (We're enjoying the new kitchen, and I'm excited that I got the appliances paid off this month.)

I took notes.  Can you tell from my face there was one I didn't like as well?

I wrote that the 'Marguerite' tasted fine, but was a little dry.  I didn't get a chance to try the larger one, but it's probably moister than the small one.  (It was.)  'Little Blackie' was a little sweeter, and more moist.  'Bronze' was the one I didn't like as well.  I did eat the rest of it, though.  'Midnight Lace' was moist and sweet.  I think that was my favorite this time.  Heidi likes to be in the kitchen when we are.  We don't give her people food, but she still hopes we'll drop something and not notice it. 

Whether you've found this post doing a search, or are one of my fellow bloggers, please leave a comment and let me know if you have cooked and eaten your ornamental sweet potatoes before.   If you don't blog, you can still leave a comment, and check the "anonymous" box.  If you've done a similar post, please put a link to it in a comment.  Here's a link to my other posts on ornamental sweet potatoes.  This will appear first now, so you'll need to scroll down to see the others.

Happy fall!  Have a great weekend, and enjoy that extra hour.  A local radio announcer mentioned this morning that people keep saying we get an extra hour of sleep this weekend, but that we could use that hour for reading a book or something.  Maybe I'll do some blog reading.

Darla mentioned a Proven Winners article that said ornamental sweet potatoes are edible.  Remember, I don't advertise, and do not promote any company, but since their 'Midnight Lace' was the one I liked the best, and the article is pertinent to the subject, I put the link in.  I have found the potatoes to be stringy if microwaved, but not as much when baked in the oven.  Thanks, Darla!


  1. That is so interesting! I've never grown ornamental sweet potato, this is definitely a good experiment. I guess if you were really really hungry, you might want to eat that again. haha.

  2. Thanks for trying it. A friend of mine cooked and ate one from her plants last year. She wasn't excited by it's flavor.

  3. How cool!! 'taters is one thing we haven't grown. We just don't have the space to store the quantity we need to grow.

  4. Thanks for letting us know that you can eat the tubers from ornamental sweet potatoes. I have some this year in pots with some other flowers. I need to pull them and empty the pots, so I'll have to see if there are tubers under there.

    I grew regular sweet potatoes (Georgia Jet) this year, and got nothing. Lots of roots, but no potatoes.

  5. What a lovely blog of yours...
    Have a nice weekend..

  6. Hi Sue! What a great play by ARE!
    Never tried these ornamental vines but I always wondered if they were I know!
    Like your new blog colors ;)

  7. They are so lovely as they grow . I have a lot . they tend to push out the other plants though. Your header is the greatest. Next you 3 will make snow angels haha

  8. I grow them but have never eaten them. I remember you blogging about this topic though. YOu can save your potatoes in a dry dark place to plant next year..

  9. I actually just read on the Proven Winner's site that ornamental potatoes can be eaten if you have not used chemicals on them. They are stringy and dry when timely was this read? lol

  10. I have saved the tuber to replant, but think it was developed for foliage. There is a sweet gene to work with for the good eaters obviously, the one I tried was dry and had no flavor.I cooked some 2 pounders and they were yummy,this was a favorite to grow for my dad, he had won some ribbons gromwing up in SE NE as a kid.Have you ever grown one in a jar of water?Fun for kids over the winter months, they trail all over the place.

  11. Thanks for the comments. Darla, I found the article you were talking about, and put a link in for it. I'll put it here, too, for anyone who subscribed to the follow up comments. I have found that they aren't as dry when baked rather than microwaved. A little spray of margarine adds some moisture, too. Proven Winners' 'Midnight Lace' was the one I liked the best this time.

    Here's the article:

  12. Never ate them myself. Looks like you had fun trying them out. Have to admit... love the vines.

  13. Hmmm. I have some ornamental sweet potato tubers I was hoping to replant next spring. I'm not sure if I'd eat them even though they're edible. LOL

  14. I'm not sure what brand goat cheese it was, I just used plain goat cheese for the sandwich. It is delicious with the oven roasted tomatoes.

  15. Hi Sue,
    What an interesting post. I had no idea they were edible.

    I am using my extra hour right now sipping my second cup of coffee and reading blogs.

    Love your header picture!

  16. First of all, I love the header shot. So cute!

    I also like how you called your husband up from his "man cave!"
    It is good you found a sweet potato you liked!

  17. I have never tried growing sweet potatoes before, but I've always wondered if the ornamental varieties were any good for eating. Maybe I'll give the winning variety a try!

  18. Love it!
    I had no idea that you could actually eat ornamental sweet potatoes! As an experiment, I planted them in a straw bale this past year and I remember wondering if they were edible. Thanks for tasting and sharing your experience!!


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.