DESCRIPTION: Sweet Potatoes are one of NC's biggest crops and yet, most of us have never tried eating the greens. Sweet potato greens are the edible leaves of the sweet potato vine. Though widely eaten throughout Asia & Africa, they are less well known to most of us in the U.S. The good news is they’re edible and delicious, high in Vitamin C and B6, and they thrive in the summer heat, unlike all the other leafy greens we crave.
Cook them up just like you would chard or water spinach (they're tender, so don't take long at all to cook) in a stir-fry, stew, omelet, or simply sauteed alone with some garlic. Be sure not to include the larger stems, since they’re tough. Saute them with garlic or onions in olive oil until tender (they won't take long to cook at all!), braise them in coconut milk with ginger & turmeric, or use them in place of spinach in saag paneer (I will often use feta if I can't find Indian paneer).
STORAGE: Store sweet potato greens wrapped in a dry paper towel inside an open bag in your fridge for several days. If they wilt a little, don't worry. They wilt easily, but will cook up just fine. NOTE: like water spinach, they don't keep for long, so eat them right away.
RECIPE: Sweet Potato Greens in Lemongrass Coconut Milk serves 4
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a good pinch of salt. Remove any thick stems from your bunch of greens and toss the greens into the boiling water. Blanch for half a minute or until tender and drain. Set aside. Trim your lemongrass and finely slice a 2 inch length of it. Mince an onion, a clove or two of garlic, and a half inch piece of fresh ginger. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a big pan over medium heat and add your minced ingredients along with a pinch of ground turmeric (optional) and a pinch of chili flakes (optional) and a pinch of salt. Stir in a spoonful of soy sauce. Stir in 2 cups coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Now, add in your blanched greens and simmer for a couple minutes. Stir in a spoonful of sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with rice.