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Camote or Sweet Potato: Photos, Cooking, and Health Benefits

Updated on February 24, 2017
(ipomoea batatas) Sweet potato or camote.
(ipomoea batatas) Sweet potato or camote. | Source
Sweet potato flowers have fused petals, also known as sympetalous.
Sweet potato flowers have fused petals, also known as sympetalous. | Source

Sweet potato (ipomoea batatas) is an easy to grow crop with its sweet-tasting tuberous roots regarded as a vegetable ingredient, a sweet dessert mixture and one of the easy to make favorite afternoon snack in the Philippines specially in the provinces where farming is the source of livelihood where families also sustained that with vegetable gardening. It is indeed one of the extensively cultivated crop in the country.

Sweet potato, or what we call as camote is one of those crops that I had seen growing in our vegetable garden up until now. It is easy to grow, I know some grows it as an ornamental plant, does good in hanging baskets for this purpose. But to us, we grow sweet potato mainly for consumption, that is both the leaves and the tuberous roots. And since we have our camote (sweet potato) plant in a container, we only harvest the sweet potato tops.

Filipino dish sinigang with sweet potato tops.
Filipino dish sinigang with sweet potato tops. | Source

Cooking With Sweet Potato Leaves

Beautiful it is when I first saw a photo of a sweet potato on a hanging basket. I even asked myself how I haven't thought of trying the crop on a hanging basket. And it did well as an ornamental plant on a photo I saw. But what really surprised me is knowing that not all knows the young leaves and shoots are edible as well. In fact, it is consumed on some parts of the world, including the Philippines where it is one of the usual vegetables one would found on a neighbors backyard garden.

1. Sweet potato tops are healthy and delicious, just steamed it and you will have a healthy lunch. A steamed camote, or sweet potato tops, with warm rice and together with grilled or fried fish is one of our favorite lunch on the farm. Add some dipping sauce to it like lime and bagoong (fermented fish or shrimp sauce) and it would make it a really good lunch. It can also be sauteed and in Taiwan, it is often served with soy sauce mixture and garlic.

2. The tops are also one of the vegetables that could be added on Filipino soup dish sinigang with the tuberous roots as well. I do add the tuberous roots on this dish along with radish and carrots, and other vegetables like cabbage. The roots is also good in adobo.

3. Sauteed vegetables. I love making fancy foods and one of my favorite is sauteed sweet potatoes along with carrots, and potatoes are cut into cubes seasoned with oyster sauce. If you have different varieties of sweet potatoes, you could add one of each to make a colorful sauteed vegetables and add your choice of greens as well.

4. Also sweet potatoes are made into what we call camote cue, which is fried, caramelized sweet potatoes (camote) and then skewered on a bamboo sticks. It is one of the common snack and street food in the Philippines.

Sweet potato leaves on sale on Asian markets.
Sweet potato leaves on sale on Asian markets. | Source
purple sweet potatoes
purple sweet potatoes | Source

Did you know?

* Other few names sweet potato is known for includes batata in Egypt, goguma in Korea, and camote or spelled kamote in the Philippines.

* The tuberous root of the sweet potato plant is considered to be the most used part of the plant and is a staple food crop. In Africa, it is sun dried either into slices or as crushed and is a staple food in Uganda.

* As mentioned earlier, the sweet potato tops and the young leaves are consumed as vegetable in the Philippines and also in other countries such as in both West and East Africa. It is a good source of lutein, riboflavin, magnesium, and A and C vitamins.

* The flesh of the plant's tuberous root ranges in color from the pale yellow, white, to orange and purple. The white variety is used in cooking along with other vegetables on some Filipino dishes while the other varieties such as the purple one is sweetened and used in desserts. It also cost a little bit more than the white variety.

* A Japanese distilled, alcoholic beverage known as shochu is sometimes made from sweet potato although it can be made from other vegetables and grains.

* Sweet potato, of all root crops commonly consumed in the Philippines shows to have the highest source of phenolic compounds with antioxidant activity.

Natural remedies using sweet potato:

* The crushed leaves of sweet potato is used in treating boils and acne.

* For diarrhea, the roots of the plant is boiled and taken.

* The Japanese had been using the white sweet potato varieties for centuries in treating high blood pressure, anemia, and diabetes. An extract from the white potato shows promising results of decreased in blood sugar level.

Purple sweet potatoes. With their attractive, beautiful color, the purple varieties are highly regarded in the Philippines and cost a lot more than the white ones. They are good boiled and also used in sweets and desserts.
Purple sweet potatoes. With their attractive, beautiful color, the purple varieties are highly regarded in the Philippines and cost a lot more than the white ones. They are good boiled and also used in sweets and desserts. | Source


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    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      6 years ago from USA

      @ Avian:

      Good evening :) Yes, they are very good. We often blanch it or sauteed the tops or young leaves.

      @ Patsybell:

      Hi Patsy! ^-^' I'm glad you got something new from my hub. Maybe next time you'd come across a friend who have sweet potato and you can share this to them as well, a fresh vegetable from the backyard.

      Thank you both for dropping by!

    • Patsybell profile image

      Patsy Bell Hobson 

      6 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

      This is all news to me. Very informative. Voted up and interesting.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I always learn something new from you. I never know about the tops.


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