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Melthucelha Smith
Melthucelha Smith

Should You Buy Sweet Potatoes Organic

One way to decrease possible exposure to pesticides is to choose more products known to have lower contamination. These 15 produce items had the lowest amounts of pesticide residues, according to the 2023 EWG report: avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, onions, papaya, sweet peas (frozen), asparagus, honeydew melon, kiwi, cabbage, mushrooms, mangoes; sweet potatoes, watermelon, and carrots.

should you buy sweet potatoes organic

Other foods you and your family eat, such as meats, cereals, breads and dairy products, might also be exposing you to unwanted chemicals. According to EWG, the direct health benefits of organic meat, eggs and milk are less clear, but you should play it safe by sticking with all-natural, free-range, grass-fed meats that are not fed antibiotics or growth hormones, and by choosing only organic dairy products.

Eggplant, broccoli, and cauliflower were all on the 2021 Clean Fifteen, but they did not make the 2022 list. That means that these three veggies must have been found to contain a higher concentration of pesticides than they did last year (though not enough for them to make the Dirty Dozen). New additions to the list this year are mangoes, watermelon, and sweet potatoes, which clinched the bottom three spots.

Basically, even if you do not have access to organic produce, you should still eat plenty of fresh conventional fruits and veggies, as their health benefits outweigh the risks associated with pesticide exposure. And for times when organic produce is an option, splurge on organic versions of items on the Dirty Dozen list.

Does it matter which half of the potato is submerged in water when making sweet potato slips? Yes, the rooting end should go in the water. Here are a few ways to determine the difference between the rooting end and the sprouting end:

@Tina Leonard, hello... growing sweet potatoes for first time. I buy regular potatoes from the grocery store then soak them in cold water for a while and then use a plastic brush to brush the skin of the potatoes hard to get off the inhibitor. .then rinse in clean water . it works.. A sheen of clear oil forms on the surface of the water of the chemical inhibitor that comes off the surface of the potatoe... about 95% of the planted potatoes grow... going to try this with store bought sweet potatoes using the same procedure... do you know if trying this will work for sweet potatoes? Fredrick

I thought these were the same thing for a long time, but it turns out, yams and sweet potatoes are two different plants from two different plant families, and they even look different. Things they don't tell you at the grocery store...

Yams can be perennial in tropical regions, meaning they can go on and on and live for years. Yams have a rougher outside (more bark) and a more earthy flavor, while sweet potatoes are soft and sweet. The inside of sweet potatoes, the flesh, is orange in color, while yam flesh is typically white.

They're a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Just one cup, 200g, of baked sweet potatoes provides you with tons of vitamins and nutrients, including 4g of protein, 769 percent of your daily value recommendation for vitamin A, 65 percent of your recommended vitamin C, 29 percent of vitamin B6, and 27 percent of potassium.

You get lots of fiber and antioxidants in sweet potatoes, and both are proven to help with digestion. Sweet potatoes actually include two kinds of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Your body can't digest either of those types. Do you know what that means? They stay in your body longer, help you feel full longer, and help you go number two.

Purple sweet potatoes especially contain anthocyanins, a group of antioxidants, so look for purple sweet potatoes next time you're at the farmers' market. In studies, mice fed a diet rich in purple sweet potatoes experienced lower rates of early-stage colon cancer.

The antioxidant responsible for giving sweet potatoes that orange color also helps you see better. Eating just one cup of baked sweet potato with the skin gives you seven times the beta carotene that you need per day. Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in your body, and that turns into light-detecting sensors.

Sweet potatoes are from Central and South America, where they were consumed for over 5,000 years to support the nutrition and growth of populations there. But there's evidencee that sweet potatoes were being grown in the Cook Islands, in the area of Polynesia, all the way back to 1000 A.D., and possibly even earlier. Archeologists are trying to figure out if Polynesians could have sailed across the Pacific in their double-hulled canoes, all the way from Polynesia to South America, gotten the sweet potato root, and brought it back.

If you think about it, sweet potatoes began in Central and South America, where the climate is super different than it is in Europe, so its popularity was slow to spread across Europe. You really need warmer temperatures to grow sweet potatoes.

Even today, sweet potatoes grow better and are much more popular in the southern part of the U.S. than they are in the North. Whenever I visit my home state of Mississippi in August, my mom and dad have a big box of sweet potatoes that they've just bought from local farmers and will keep all through the fall and winter.

Fun fact: George Washington Carver, the Black agricultural scientist from Missouri who's known for his work with peanuts, also did tons of work with sweet potatoes. In fact, he's credited with developing over 125 diverse products with sweet potatoes, including dyes, wood fillers, candies, paste, breakfast foods, starches, flours, and molasses.

Sweet potatoes are grown mostly in North Carolina, California, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana in the U.S. Again, the sweet potato is a warm-weather vegetable, and it can even be grown year round in parts of the South where there's no frost. When I lived in Houston, Texas, I loved growing sweet potatoes over the hot summers.

If you live somewhere with a long warm or hot season, you should absolutely try growing your own. If you don't want to grow your own but want to enjoy sweet potatoes at their peak flavor and nutritional content, buy them in season from the farmers' market. You won't get the same quality if they've been shipped/imported as you do when they're grown right outside your door.

When I was taking plant family photos for my first book, Kitchen Garden Revival, I realized sweet potatoes would be the only ones in the picture for the Convolvulaceae family, more commonly known as the morning glory family. While there are a ton of species in that plant family, most are just herbaceous. Very few of them are things we would grow to eat.

We ended up not putting that photo in the book because it just looked awkward, which is a great indication that sweet potatoes are in a league of their own. They're not going to be grown like most other plants in the kitchen garden.

Growing sweet potatoes is a different experience from many other plants in the garden. You're not going to order a little seed package or a seed potato, like you would with a potato in the Solanaceae family. You're actually going to grow sweet potatoes from a slip. (Not the kind of slip you'd wear under a thin dress.)

A slip is actually a little shoot, a little green growth that grows off of a mature sweet potato. If you've seen pictures or videos on social media of sweet potatoes growing in jars, those are slips. One sweet potato could actually produce up to 50 slip sprouts. You can buy sweet potato slips online or grow your own from organic store-bought potatoes.

Another way to grow slips is to place a mature sweet potato in moist compost in a cool and dark place. Within a few days, you should see shoots of little green growth. (You've probably inadvertently grown some slips in a pantry if you've ever kept sweet potatoes too long.)

If it is almost time to grow sweet potatoes, then start your slips about 6 weeks before planting time. Remove slips from the sweet potato by cutting them at the base when they're about 5 to 6 inches long. Let the slips root in a jar of water. You should notice roots forming within 48 hours. Throw out any wilted or rotten slips, and continue to refresh the water in the jar. Your slips are ready for planting when their roots are several inches long.

You only want to plant sweet potatoes after all chance of frost has passed. Even in Houston, which is a warm climate that typically experiences little frost, my clients wait until late April or early May to plant their sweet potato slips. Sweet potato plants are not frost-hardy at all.

If you have really hot summers, sweet potatoes are a great plant to try. They're one of the few plants that grow during the hot season that can handle a little neglect. We like to grow these for clients if they're traveling during the summer or just don't want to work out in the heat and humidity.

You'll see pretty quickly that the sweet potato leaves take over. Your beds will look completely wild by the middle of the summer, but one of the great things is all that wildness is great for your soil health. Sweet potatoes are fantastic soil coverage because of all the green that grows from just a few slips.

If your soil is healthy, you can leave some sweet potatoes down in the ground and harvest them as you go. We've had clients who harvest some and then wait all the way until Thanksgiving to harvest a few more (that's only for areas that don't get frost in November).

Next time you're at the grocery store, weigh out two pounds of sweet potatoes to get a better idea of how much each slip can produce. I think we overestimate potential production from edible plants. We forget how much space is actually needed to grow our food.

Out of the ground, sweet potatoes can be stored for six to ten months. You do want to store sweet potatoes somewhere that stays about 55 to 65 degrees, but they don't have to be stored in the refrigerator. Spread them out to make sure they're not rubbing against one another and avoid wet areas, and you'll end up having sweet potatoes for a long, long time. 041b061a72


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