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Sweet Potatoes – Backyard Style

December 20, 2013

Yes, readers, there is a Harvest Manager.  The last several weeks have been occupied with recuperation from major knee surgery under the attentive care of the Gardener.  I felt well tended, warmly covered, fed, and watered resulting in a fruitful recovery.  I’m back in business and ready for the next harvest.

The last harvest came in during the recuperation period, so the Gardener was on his own for management.  He did a good job on what turned out to be a fairly high stakes process.  Deciding that the sweet potatoes had been given all of the time they would get for growth and maturation, the Gardener began to dig.  He brought in roughly two five gallon buckets of various sized tuberous roots.   It turns out that in order for sweet potatoes to take on their sweet taste and to store for any length of time, they need to be ‘cured’.  Curing involves 7 – 10 days in a humid (90-95%), warm (85+ degrees) place.  During this time the harvest wounds can heal while the roots develop a tougher skin and sweeter flavor.

Sweet potatoes curing

Sweet potatoes curing

Outside of the deep south (read that Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama) the right curing environment must be created, as it does not exist in nature.  Thus, the Gardener created a sweet potato curing shed in the upstairs bathroom with a space heater and a humidifier.  Ten days and numerous kilowatts later, the deed was done and the harvest was managed.  It appears to have been worth it.  The sweet potatoes are quite flavorful and look like they will store throughout the winter.

Mission accomplished.

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