Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A farmer's market find, sweet potato greens are in season

Posted By on Tue, Aug 3, 2010 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge Sweet potato greens are not your average salad greens.
  • Sweet potato greens are not your average salad greens.

You've probably been working from the ground floor up when it comes to sweet potatoes. The tubers are easy to master. Once you've figured out fries and mashed potatoes, you're good to go.

But sweet potato greens are just as versatile and can be even more interesting. Because you haven't had them every Thanksgiving and they're not yet widely available on menus. Once you pick up a bunch for your kitchen, you might discover a new side (dish) of sweet potatoes.  


Sweet potato greens are a common diet ingredient in parts of Asia and Africa, found often in Thai and Malaysian cooking. The leaves can be sweet, particularly if they are picked early, and are not usually bitter. You can eat the entire vine, but most people start with just the greens and tips. I find them similar to collard greens after being cooked.

Stir-frying and steaming are probably the two most popular methods of preparation. Stir frying can be as simple as adding soy sauce, garlic and chiles. While you may want to start cooking in a wok, the leaves will shrink quite a bit while you're cooking them (figure three to five minutes). You can also blanch the leaves in boiling water before turning them into a cold salad. Bad Seed Farm's Daniel Heryer recommends thinking of the greens the way you would spinach and then just substituting them into dishes.

You can find sweet potato greens at Bad Seed Farm's Friday night farmer's market (1819 McGee) and at the Farmer's Community Market at Brookside (63rd and Wornall).

[Image via Rene's Blog]

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