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Sweet potato varieties for edible vine?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 11
Location: Western North Carolina and East central Alabama
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Hi guys, I have been reading that SPV's are edible and that in Asia some varieties are grown only for the vine but so far it seems the internet doesn't know which varieties those are :). Anybody have knowledge of which varieties are better or worse for producing lots of tasty leaves? Thanks!
 
pollinator
Posts: 203
Location: North Carolina, USA Zone 7b
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I never thought to compare varieties for leaf flavor!   I've been growing Beauregard and eating the leaves for years.   Rather bland in flavor, heavier textured than spinach  so I make them disappear in soups and salads by chopping them small - don't really care for a pile of them steamed and alone 'cause they're a bit mucilaginous.   They're okay to graze on while working around the garden.
 
Scott Murphree
Posts: 11
Location: Western North Carolina and East central Alabama
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I don't know if there are meaningful differences but if so I'd love to know. In my online research I've come across comments like 'some are better than others' and things like that which make me want to know more, but that's as far as I get. A little while ago I had a nibble of my ornamental variety and I can't recommend it, but some have reported that the vines are delicious. Of course if someone gives me the answer it might take all the fun out of it...maybe I should grow every variety I can get my hands on and see for myself :).
 
Susan Pruitt
pollinator
Posts: 203
Location: North Carolina, USA Zone 7b
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I just noticed you're in western north carolina!    Have you shopped with Sow True Seed in Asheville?    They have a good selection of varieties.   Their catalog doesn't mention a difference in leaves but perhaps someone there would have an idea.    Meanwhile I think planting a few of each is a most excellent idea :)
 
Scott Murphree
Posts: 11
Location: Western North Carolina and East central Alabama
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Thanks Susan, that's a great idea! Yes, I live just on the outskirts of Asheville. I've been sampling sweet potato root varieties for the last couple of weeks and there's definitely differences in their tastes, so it's not hard to imagine there may differences in their vines. For example, one online variety was described as having extra long vines (yes!), but didn't say whether it was best used for cattle fodder or feasting on for every meal. Maybe I should try 100 varieties and blog about it. Thanks again!
 
Posts: 1636
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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forest garden solar
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I would guess that the ones that put less energy into 'fruiting storage roots' and more into vegetative growth are better.
And then from this selections for specific flavor profiles would be selected.
But all sweet potato vines/leaves are non-toxic and edible so eat away.
Its even possible that you would prefer the flavor profile of a cultivar that you develop when compared with a 'official asian cultivar'
 
Scott Murphree
Posts: 11
Location: Western North Carolina and East central Alabama
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Hi S, interesting points! Yes, I think a longer vine would be better for eating, but some varieties of vines are 'bush'...maybe the bush ones don't have to compete for sunlight (in the conditions that they evolved in), and the long vines ones have to climb way up the trees to get enough sunlight to survive? I'm just guessing, but in neither case do tasting good to humans benefit them one way or another. Sadly, our input isn't a part of the evolutionary equation:).  So I guess it's a crap shoot as to which taste better. Wouldn't it be a bummer if it were discovered that the best are discovered from roots with 18 inch vines...ha! Actually since there isn't much info on the net, I assume that there's really not much variation among the cultivars, though I have seen hints that there are.
Yes, I plan to take your advice and if I discover something surprising I'll be sure to yell it from the rooftops! In fact, I'll prove it. A couple of days ago I discovered Kangkong (another vining type of green) and boiled it and it was very good. Got some more and stir fried it and it blew my mind. Soft and luscious...I would have gobbled five pounds of it if it were before me. That's good eats but I'm getting off topic. Thanks ! -S.
 
gardener
Posts: 3465
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I eat sweet potato leaves. I do not eat vines. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, since I pull each leaf from the stem before eating, the larger the leaf, the less labor it takes to prepare.
 
Scott Murphree
Posts: 11
Location: Western North Carolina and East central Alabama
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Hi Joseph, yeah, I totally made a false assumption, that longer vines produce a higher yield of leaves. The ideal might be a bush variety with large leaves. Thanks! Reminds me - I hear that pumpkin leaves can be good, but haven't tried them yet.
 
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