No Waste: Cooking With Sweet Potato Greens

Food & Drink, Kitchen Gardening, No Waste, Recipe, Surprises

Remember way back at the beginning of this gardening season, before daily 100-degree heat advisories set in? I had finally filled up my raised beds with soil and, lacking any other planting opportunities, I plunked some sprouting store-bought sweet potatoes in the ground in my enthusiasm. Yeah, they didn’t look very promising.

After

They got even more sad looking after a freeze. Well, that freeze is well in the past now, as we’ve now hit the doldrums of Central Texas gardening, when tomatoes bloom but don’t set fruit because it’s too hot. Most everything is in my garden is hanging on for dear life.

But the Sweet Potatoes are thriving. Spilling out of the raised bed, even. Encroaching on the other plants.

SweetPotatoGreens

sweetPotatoes2

And somehow, recently, I learned that these greens were edible — even tasty. They’re apparently used a lot in Filipino cooking, but I went for the default green treatment (as described here) — sauté them in fat with some onions and garlic, and season with salt and pepper.

cooked-spgreens

Previously, I’ve incorporated them into falafel, since I didn’t have parsley. Anyway, these were delicious as they were, but they were destined to be folded into a quiche.

What an amazing discovery. A plant part I thought was useless turns into a big component of dinner. (They’re also very nutritious and contain tons of antioxidants, according to this study.)

All I had to do was take the scissors out to the garden and snip away until I had a big bunch — a lot of the volume was the stems, which I ended up not using (though they certainly could be used). I ripped the leaves off the stems with my hands, put them in a salad spinner to wash them, and then tore the cleaned leaves up into smaller pieces before I put them in the pan.

Before tossing them in, I’d recycled a little bacon grease for the job of softening the onions and toasting the garlic. It didn’t take very long — maybe a little longer than spinach — for the sweet potato greens to wilt and soften once  I’d added them to the mix. A little salt and pepper later and sweet potato greens are officially in our summer greens rotation.

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