How to Use Excess Sweet Potatoes from the Garden
One summer my little sprouts and I grew 89 pounds of sweet potatoes in our front flowerbed. They looked gorgeous all summer and we had tons of excess sweet potatoes to enjoy.
I love sweet potatoes, even better than white potatoes. I love that you can store them for months. When we grew our giant harvest, I was talking to a neighbor down the street about them and he replied, well, I guess you’ll have plenty for thanksgiving. That kind of took me back realizing that some people don’t eat them regularly.
I just think they are absolutely delicious. I love them fried, baked, steamed, sautéed, and more. I make a ton of recipes with them; my favorite is a breakfast hash. You can put them in a basket in a cool dry room and have them at least half a year.
Sweet potato slips
Sweet potatoes grow from slips. You can use a potato you grew to grow your own slips for the following year. Just take the potato in winter, set it in a glass of water so one end is in the water and one end is out. It will grow green shoots on the sides out of the eyes of the sweet potato. Then you can break them off and plant them in the garden around May.
They grow gorgeous vines that look amazing in your landscape. The vines are even edible. You can take off the leaves and sauté them up and eat them like greens. They are full of vitamins. If you trim them off for eating, the potatoes underneath will actually grow even bigger. It’s a win-win.
Check this article for planting and harvesting sweet potato instructions.
Storing sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are easy to store. Once you harvest them, let them dry off in the shade. Brush the dirt off of them. Don’t wash them because water can make them rot or mold. Put them in a warm place at least 95 degrees for two weeks. We put ours in our attic. It’s plenty hot up there. Then we take them down and they are cured and ready to store.
You can eat them before they cure, but they are sweeter and have a better texture after they cure.
Store them in a cool dry place in the dark with good ventilation. Check the potatoes every few weeks and make sure there isn’t any spoilage that could spread to more potatoes. If you find a sweet potato with a bad spot, just cut that part off and the sweet potato will scab over or use the rest for dinner that night.
How to use excess sweet potatoes from the garden
The dry storage method helps sweet potatoes last for at least 4 months. I have had them last even longer. Don’t store them in the refrigerator, it makes them have a funky texture. But you can process them in other ways. You can freeze sweet potatoes, can sweet potatoes, and dehydrate sweet potatoes for longer-lasting storage methods.
Freezing sweet potatoes
You can freeze sweet potatoes that are boiled, mashed, or baked. To freeze boiled sweet potatoes, you just peel them and cube them. Then drop them in boiling salted water and boil until they are fork-tender. It takes about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your cubes. Don’t cook them too soft, so they will still have a little texture when done.
Drain them and let them cool and then bag them up in quart-sized bags.
You can freeze baked sweet potatoes by washing them and putting them in a 375-degree oven for about an hour. They should be soft when you squeeze them and soft to the center when poked with a fork. Allow to cool for about an hour and put them into zip lock bags.
You can also scrape the meat out of the skins of the baked sweet potatoes and put that in a zip lock bag to make mashed potatoes later. It’s a great do-ahead trick for food prep. If you’d like, you can squeeze a half a lemon into the bag and mix it around to prevent browning, but it’s not totally necessary.
Using frozen sweet potatoes
The frozen sweet potato cubes can be used in soups, stews, and casseroles easily. Also, in hash or other sautéed mixtures.
Frozen sweet potatoes will last about a year in the freezer, especially if you remove all of the air from the bag before sealing it.
Baked sweet potatoes can be thawed and reheated in the oven for about 15 minutes for a quick side dish. And if you have scraped them from the skins, you can just thaw and mix with some butter, milk, salt, and pepper as you heat them in a small pan.
Canning sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are easy to can. Just use the above method to peel, cube, and freeze them. Then can according to these canning sweet potato instructions.
Dehydrating sweet potatoes
This post tells you everything you need to know about dehydrating sweet potatoes. Dehydrated sweet potatoes can be used in trail mix, as fruit leather, or rehydrated and used in soups, stews, casseroles, mashed, and so on. They are very versatile, so check out how to dry them for storage.
Sweet potato recipes
My favorite way to eat sweet potatoes is in a hash or sauté like this brussel sprout and sweet potato bacon sauté. This is one of the recipes that helped me go from thinking they were okay to loving them. I just know that people who don’t like vegetables just haven’t found HOW they like them yet. There are so many different flavors and textures available from each kind of yummy nutritious veggie.
Experimenting has helped my family go from hating veggies (including me, I was a corn, potatoes, and broccoli only girl) to loving them. Check out my ideas on how to work on picky eating here.
Another favorite way to eat them is of course the thanksgiving way. Years ago, my aunt Pat revolutionized our thanksgiving side of sweet potatoes with this AMAZING sweet potato casserole. So yummy.
I also love to just bake a sweet potato and add salt and butter and eat it like a regular baked potato. It’s so delicious.
Incredibly delicious and immensely satisfying, this protein-packed Vegan Buddha Bowl with Sweet Potatoes and Quinoa is easy to throw together, perfect for meal prep, and ready in 30 minutes or less! This bowl features an epic Lemon Miso Tahini Dressing, and the whole bowl is super easy to customize.
Flavorful and hearty turkey stew (I used turkey leg meat) with sweet potatoes and cranberries. Stewing turkey leg meat it’s the best way to treat this piece of meat. It comes out so tender.
Hopefully, you will grow sweet potatoes in your garden this season and have a ton of excess sweet potatoes to use up in these yummy ways.
For more excess garden produce articles, check out what to do with excess peaches, excess okra, excess tomatoes, excess green beans, excess cucumbers, excess hot peppers, excess greens, and excess herbs. The garden can be such a wonderful place of bounty.
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