Bet you didn’t know…
The sweet potato has a history as colorful as its bright orange flesh. Here are some things you might not know about our friend the delicious yam: Some doctors in Colonial times recommended sweet potatoes, especially for children, because of the vegetable’s value in preventing childhood disease.
During the Civil War, the supply of some foods in the South started to run low. When coffee became hard to get, the sweet potato was used to make a tasty hot drink. It was cut into thin pieces, dried, ground and brewed just like coffee!
Nearly every large farm in the South had a sweet potato patch during the Civil War. This was a large area with a fence around it where hills of yams were covered with straw and soil. This covering protected the sweet potatoes from the cold and frost of winter, helping them become sweet and tasty.
How to grow a sweet potato houseplant:
- sweet potato
- jar or glass
- bottled water (non-chlorinated)
- Wash sweet potato thoroughly.
- Insert toothpicks into the sides of the sweet potato about 1/3 of the way down.
- Place the sweet potato into the jar.
- Fill the jar with water.
- In about 10-15 days, the sweet potato will begin to bud.
- For the next 3 to 6 months, vines will grow from the sweet potato.
- You can train the vines to climb up or around whatever you choose.
Keeping It Green:
- Always keep your jar filled with non-chlorinated water.
- Keep the sweet potato plant in full to moderate sunlight.
- Keep the sweet potato plant at room temperature at or above 65° F.
North Carolina -
The Sweet Potato Capitol of America
North Carolina leads all other states in sweet potato production, producing about 40% of the national supply. Commercial production of sweet potatoes in the state is concentrated along the Interstate 95 corridor and eastward.
How did the sweet potato become North Carolina's official vegetable? In 1993, Mrs. Celia Batchelor's fourth grade civics class at Elvie Street School in Wilson, N.C. was visited by Representative Gene Arnold from Wilson County. His visit inspired her students to become involved in their state government.
These fourth grade students, along with their parents and teachers, began a letter writing campaign to the State Legislature requesting that the sweet potato be named as the state vegetable. The entire community became involved in the campaign.
After two years of letter writing and a lot of hard work, the bill passed in the General Assembly's summer session of 1995. At last the sensational sweet potato was declared the Official Vegetable of the State of North Carolina!