Right after harvest, sweet potatoes should be cured. Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) mature 90 to 100 days after you plant them and will continue to grow until frost kills the vines. At What Temperature Should Cut Tulips Be Stored? Pack a thick coat of straw over the mound. Both groups are usable, but the first group will hold up much better in storage. Although you can cook sweet potatoes fresh out of the ground, the natural sweetness improves after curing. Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. Sweet potatoes must be cured after harvest and before they are stored. This gives us a growing season of roughly three to four months, or 90 to 120 days. Just make sure the sweet potatoes are large enough for a meal. ‘Georgia Jets’ is another fast grower known for heavy yields. Much below 55 degrees and sweet potatoes (similar to winter squash) will suffer chilling injury. How Long Will Pumpkins Keep on the Vine After They Are Ripe? There are many varieties on the market, including some really cool heirloom sweet potatoes of all different colors: white, golden, orange, and even purple. After the curing process is done, then you store your sweet potatoes in an area that is kept around 55-60°F for about 6-8 more weeks. Harvest sweet potatoes the morning after a frost if you have waited too long. Sweet potatoes are versatile tubers that have fewer calories than traditional potatoes and are a perfect stand in for that starchy vegetable. If you planted sweet potatoes this summer, it's time to harvest them—and there's another step you need to take before you bring them into the kitchen. If the roots on the selected plants are filled out well, it’s time to dig. When a frost hits, most of the sweet potatoes will be in soil that is about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, which means you can harvest sweet potatoes after frost. The ideal climate for curing sweet potatoes is 80 to 85 degree temperatures, 90 percent humidity, and excellent air circulation. The flavor develops after harvest during a two to three week curing process. On one hand, some consider sprouted potatoes perfectly safe to eat, as long as you remove the sprouts. The slips may look rough at first, but they quickly grow new leaves. The harvest is ready to use and store when the skins appear dry and firm, and all cut and scrapes have healed over. Begin by removing the vines to expose the soil and the swollen areas where sweet potatoes are hiding just below the surface. Although large roots grow at the site of the slip, substantial secondary roots grow all over the place. Immediately after you’ve harvested your potato crop, go ahead and allow them to sit in your garden for about an hour to dry. If you cook and eat a fresh sweet potato, you’ll be unpleasantly surprised. what is the difference between yams and sweet potatoes? Don't Eat Homegrown Sweet Potatoes Until You Take This Critical Step. Sweet potatoes should be planted in full sun, between 12 and 16 inches apart within rows that are separated by six feet. Some of you asked how I eat the sweet potato leaves so here it is! Sweet potatoes must be cured for about 10 days. Other possible curing locations include greenhouses, hot beds, or simply under a loose sheet of plastic out of direct sunlight. You can remove several tubers without hurting the plant and sacrificing your later harvest. Although the wound may appear to heal, if you store injured sweet potatoes immediately, they may develop fungal rots. National Gardening Association: Harvesting Sweet Potatoes, Missouri Botanical Garden: Ipomoea Batatas, How to Store Potatoes So They Will Not Rot, How to Keep Potatoes from Sprouting in Storage. Fresh sweet potato sprouts are edible too (unlike regular potato sprouts). After planting the sweet potato, around 120 days before and after is the harvest proper time. After harvest, the sweet potatoes should be cured. The flavor develops after harvest during a two to three week curing process. Because the sweet potatoes can form a good distance from the plant, work from the outer edges of the berm in toward the center. However, they will become sweeter if you let them cure (age) for a while. They usually come in bundles of 25, which is enough to produce about two bushels of sweet potatoes. The Old Farmer's Almanac reports that most sweet potato varieties are ready for harvest about 100 days after planting. The story: Yumi R. … Brush off excess soil, but do not wash them. There are often no visible indicators that sweet potatoes are ready to harvest. Sweet potatoes are perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 to 11, but are grown as annuals in cooler zones. Store in a cool and dry room, excess sweet potatoes can be left for a short time. Pile cured sweet potatoes in a 3- to 4-foot-tall cone or pyramid on top of 8 to 10 inches of wheat straw. Curing potatoes simply means letting them dry and giving the skin time to thicken. All photos: Gerald Holmes, California Polytechnic State University at … If you’re further north, you’ll want to do the same thing; harvest your sweet potatoes as late as possible. Sweet potatoes store best in temperatures between 45 and 50 degrees with average humidity and good ventilation. While harvesting, separate tubers that are large and undamaged from smaller, and/or damaged tubers. To plant, use a garden trowel to open a slot in the soil. Ideal conditions – high temperatures and high humidity – will allow the potatoes to cure quickly so any superficial wounds will heal. Sweet potatoes are somewhat under utilized in home gardens, and that is a shame. Although this is a general theory, it is said that sweet potatoes are said to have been harvested usually after planting seedlings (after inserting a vine) with growing days of around 120 days. About 4 months after planting sweet potato slips, you can dig up a few and see how large they’ve grown. Proper curing “sets the skin” and heals minor injuries. With a garden rake, work the soil up to a low ridge six inches high and 12 to 14 inches across, the full length of the row. The closer you keep to these guidelines when trying to cure the sweet potatoes, the faster the sweet potatoes should cure. And, although you can eat them right away, they actually taste better after a couple months of storage. You can expect sweet potatoes to retain their quality for six to 10 months, but some cultivars may begin sprouting after six months. To heal bruises and wounds and seal out rot fungus, the National Gardening Association says to cure them before storing by keeping them for 10 to 14 days in a dark, humid place at 80 to 85 degrees F. Curing sweet potatoes in a plastic bag is just one method you can use. Most gardeners in warmer climates, like USDA Zones 8 and 9, usually try to time the harvest for September or October. Once you harvest your sweet potatoes, you'll need to properly store them until you're ready to use them in a meal. If stored too long, there is a risk that the tubers will rot. Sort any badly cut or bruised potatoes to eat first (they won't keep) and sort the rest according to size in boxes or baskets to cure before storage. In a couple of weeks they begin to grow vines across the ground. Don’t leave them out overnight where cooler temperatures and moisture can damage them. © Provided by Chowhound It is true that they require a fairly long, hot growing season and a substantial amount of space, but the payoff is a bumper crop in late summer or early fall with very little work beyond planting. Begin digging at one end of the bed, at least a foot away from where the first slip was planted. Sweet potatoes form a lush mat of vining growth, and their tubers form underground, so it can be hard to know when to harvest sweet potatoes. So, around the expected harvest date, begin looking for well developed tubers. If you live in an area with mild winters, it’s possible to store sweet potatoes in outdoor mounds. How long after harvesting sweet potatoes can you eat … Related Reading on CNET: 11 Plant Delivery Services & Garden Subscriptions. Don't wash the potatoes after the harvest, either. Sweet potatoes need to be cured after harvesting. Curing also gives the potato time to develop their sugars which makes the potato tastes much sweeter than if you would have eaten it right after harvesting. It takes 4 to 6 days for sweet-as-can-be potatoes. It will take sweet potatoes between 90 and 170 days This will heal any damage that occurred to the tubers during harvest so they store longer, and it will also kick off the sugar production process to give you sweeter sweet potatoes. If you cook sweet potatoes right after harvesting, they won’t taste sweet as you may have expected. According to Bonnie Plants, you should put the sweet potato tubers in a warm area at 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (27 to 32 degrees Celsius) for 10 days to allow them to cure. These tasty members of the morning glory family are easy to grow, thrive in hot temperatures, and are capable of producing incredible yields. Insert the slip up to the first set of leaves, and firm the soil around it. Can I Harvest Sweet Potatoes in a Cold Climate? To keep rain from washing away the cover, stack boards around the pyramid and fasten them at the top. This will allow any soil to fall away from the tubers. Keep the tubers in a dark place with temperatures around 55° to 60° F with high humidity of up to 85 or 95 percent. Leave the tubers in the ground for a week or two more if necessary to reach fully mature. Rain can cause some sweet potatoes to rot when they're stored in mounds. Curing is simple: the roots want to be kept at about 80-90 degrees for a few days after you’ve dug them up. If possible, storage potatoes should have a short drying or "curing" period of one to two weeks after the harvest. Although you should have harvested them earlier, you can still salvage the crop. 11 Plant Delivery Services & Garden Subscriptions. Here, in Virginia, it’s best to harvest sweet potatoes just before the first frost. Wherever the stems touch the ground they root in, and can produce additional sweet potatoes. In this environment, curing is finished in about 10 days. Curing can be done in 10 to 14 days by keeping sweet potatoes in a warm, dark place with some ventilation. That’s perfect for most sweets. Wait at least three weeks before eating, so the starches can convert to sugars. Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. What you see: Purple sprouts and stalks emerging from your sweet potato What it is: A sprouting sweet potato Eat or toss: Eat! Curing heals any injuries to the surface of the potatoes, and helps them convert starch to sugar. This involves placing the potatoes in a warm (85 degrees) humid (90 percent) environment for about 4 to 6 days to increase sugar content, heal nicks and bruises incurred during harvest, and increase flesh color. Sweet potatoes can last six months or more in storage, if held properly. So, curing is an important step. Their growing seasons vary between 90 and 120 days, so be sure to buy a variety that will mature before cool weather arrives in fall. Curing allows any slight cuts or bruises on the potatoes to heal rapidly. However now you have ripped it from its home you might as well eat it tonight. Giving storing potatoes this extra time is necessary to properly cure or toughen the skins, protecting them … Check out some sweet potato recipe ideas for inspiration on using your harvest. After digging, allow the roots to dry for two to three hours. Once cured, store your sweet potatoes in dry boxes or bins in a room that’s humid and 55 to 60 degrees F. The ideal place to store … Home gardeners can use what they have at their disposal. If you cut or bruise sweet potatoes when you dig them up, they’ll release a sticky, milky juice that will dry in a few hours. Sweet potatoes need about an inch of water per week, from two or three waterings. Commercial growers use climate controlled storage facilities that expedite the process. ‘Beauregard’ is one of the most widely grown, because it matures in 90 days and handles slightly cooler temperatures better than some of the others. Early potatoes have very thin skins and don't store well. Move them to a cool, dry, dark location such as a basement or root cellar. Hi guys! If you've ever eaten a sweet potato immediately after harvesting it, you know that the results can be disappointingly flavorless and overly starchy. Tom Grill/The Image Bank / Getty Images Plus. Sweet potato slips are produced by year-old sweet potatoes in hot beds at large specialty farms in mid to late spring. Like us on Facebook to see similar stories, Coronavirus updates: Fauci expects 'drastic' restrictions in some areas; model projects more than 500,000 US deaths by April, Kellyanne Conway breaks from Trump's refusal to concede, saying 'Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will prevail'. It's best to harvest what you need and wash and eat them immediately after harvesting. They will taste better if you give them a minimum of three weeks in storage to allow their starch to convert to sugar before you eat them. It will be starchy and bland. Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes grow from transplants, also called slips. An unheated basement or root cellar is a good place to store them, or wrap them in newspaper and keep them in a cool closet. You can harvest slightly immature sweet potatoes, but it’s best to leave them in the ground until the vines start to yellow. If a frost hits and you dig them up quickly, they'll store as well as if you had dug them before the frost. To retrieve sweet potatoes, dig carefully into the mound and remove as many as you need. Keep them in a dark, cool place for 1-2 weeks, somewhere with good air circulation. To cure sweet potatoes, clean off the soil, and put them in a plastic bag. 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2020 can you eat sweet potatoes right after harvest