Preserve The Harvest: Let’s Talk Sweet Potatoes

Preserve the Harvest: Let's Talk Sweet Potatoes PRESERVE THE HARVEST SERIES: SWEET POTATOES

Preserve the Harvest Series presents a new fruit or vegetable every month with the goal of helping you get the most out of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested during peak season. Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables, buy them at the Farmer’s Market or your local grocery store, it is good to remember the best time to preserve your bounty is when it is plentiful. Preserving the harvest stocks your pantry shelves and freezer with whole foods that you can feel good about, foods that taste great, and this approach saves you money.  A sane approach to sustainability! Next up…Sweet Potatoes.

LET’S TALK SWEET POTATOES

Let’s first clear up a common misconception many have about sweet potatoes…they are not yams. Although similar, sweet potatoes and yams come from two entirely different families. Sweet potatoes come from the morning glory family while yams are found to be more closely related to lilies and grasses.  

Sweet potatoes have a variety of colors. Their skins range in color from white to yellow, red to purple and brown. The inner flesh may be white, orange, yellow or orange-red. They are also classified into two categories; firm or soft. Those classified as soft remain soft after cooking and those classified as firm remain firm.

Another interesting note is that here in the United States most of the “yams” we buy are actually sweet potatoes but of the firm variety. Yams can be found but they are harder to come by. The large majority of yams come from Africa, so a good place to look for the real thing would be an international market.

How to Freeze Sweet Potatoes WHEN TO BUY 

Sweet potatoes are available most of the year but are harvested in Fall. Buy in October – January for best quality.

WHERE TO BUY

Sweet potatoes can be found in farmer’s markets, health food stores and supermarkets. Choose organic whenever feasible for best quality and taste.

HOW TO CHOOSE 

Choose sweet potatoes that are heavy for their size, free from soft spots, blemishes and sprouting eyes. Handle gently; sweet potatoes bruise easily.

HOW TO STORE

Do not put sweet potatoes in the refrigerator. It is best to store them in a cool dark place with plenty of ventilation. 50 degrees is the ideal temperature. If stored properly sweet potatoes may keep for up to 3 months. If proper storage is not obtainable, buy only what you can consume in a week or consider freezing your sweet potatoes to preserve the harvest.

HOW TO GROW

The Coastal Homestead has an informative step by step tutorial on growing sweet potatoes in 5 easy steps. If you are looking to grow your own, this is a great place to start. Click here—>How to Grow Sweet Potatoes in 5 Easy Steps

Sun Basket HOW TO FREEZE SWEET POTATOES

When freezing sweet potatoes it is good to take a moment and consider what uses you will be using your sweet potatoes for. Choose either the firm or soft variety depending on your specific need. For example; choose a firm variety for soups and stews or a soft variety for mashed and pureed dishes.

Choose good quality sweet potatoes that are similar in size and shape and scrub sweet potatoes thoroughly before cooking. There are several methods that can be used when cooking your sweet potatoes in preparation for freezing. Baking, boilings, steaming, or pressure cooking will all do the trick. Choose the method that works best for you.

How to Freeze Sweet Potatoes
 
There are several methods that can be used when cooking your sweet potatoes in preparation for freezing. Baking, boilings, steaming, or pressure cooking will all do the trick. Choose the method that works best for you.
Ingredients
  • Cooked sweet potatoes, partially soft
  • Lemon juice or orange juice
Instructions
Preparing Cooked Sweet Potatoes
  1. Allow sweet potatoes to cool completely. If not peeled, remove skins.
  2. Mash, puree, quarter or slice according to preference.
To Prevent Darkening
  1. If sweet potatoes have been mashed or pureed, stir in 2 tablespoons orange or lemon juice to each quart of sweet potatoes.
  2. Dip whole, sliced or cubed sweet potatoes into a solution of ½ cup lemon juice to 1 quart of water.
Freezing
  1. Pack into containers leaving ½ " of room at the top of the container for expansion when frozen or vacuum seal as desired.
  2. Freeze.
Notes
Frozen sweet potatoes will maintain the freshest quality for 12 months or more depending on the packaging. Proper vacuum sealing may extend the storage time considerably.

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Resource links:

Library of Congress: Everyday Mysteries

National Center for Home Food Preservation

How to Freeze Sweet Potatoes shared with:

Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop; Let’s Get Real Friday Party; FoodieFriDIYSavoring Saturday’s; Sunday’s Down UnderThe Mommy Monday Blog Hop; Tasty Tuesday: Wonderful Wednesday Blog HopThe Wednesday Round UpCreative Spark Link Party; Worthwhile WednesdaysCreate it Thursday; Let’s Get Real Friday Party

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 

Preserve the Harvest Series: How to Store and Freeze Hot Peppers

PRESERVE THE HARVEST SERIES: HOW TO STORE AND FREEZE HOT PEPPERS 

Preserve the Harvest Series presents a new fruit or vegetable every Tuesday with the goal of helping you get the most out of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested during peak season. Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables, buy them at the Farmer’s Market or your local grocery store, it is good to remember the best time to preserve your bounty is when it is plentiful. Preserving the harvest stocks your pantry shelves and freezer with whole foods that you can feel good about, foods that taste great, and this approach saves you money.  A sane approach to sustainability!

Next up…How to Store, Preserve and Freeze Hot Peppers… 

Read More »

Preserve the Harvest: How to Freeze Sweet Corn

PRESERVE THE HARVEST SERIES: HOW TO FREEZE SWEET CORN


How To Freeze Sweet Corn Preserve the Harvest Series presents a new fruit or vegetable every Tuesday with the goal of helping you get the most out of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested during peak season. Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables, buy them at the Farmer’s Market or your local grocery store, it is good to remember the best time to preserve your bounty is when it is plentiful. Preserving the harvest stocks your pantry shelves and freezer with whole foods that you can feel good about, foods that taste great, and this approach saves you money.  A sane approach to sustainability!

Next up…How to Freeze Sweet Corn.

… 

Read More »

Preserve the Harvest Series: Spiced Ginger Pear Butter

Preserve the Harvest: Spiced Ginger Pear Butter PRESERVE THE HARVEST SERIES: LET’S TALK PEARS

Preserve the Harvest Series presents a new fruit or vegetable every Tuesday with the goal of helping you get the most out of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested during peak season. Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables, buy them at the Farmer’s Market or your local grocery store, it is good to remember the best time to preserve your bounty is when it is plentiful. Preserving the harvest stocks your pantry shelves and freezer with whole foods that you can feel good about, foods that taste great, and this approach saves you money.  A sane approach to sustainability! Next up…pears and Spiced Ginger Pear Butter.

LET’S TALK PEARS

WHEN TO BUY PEARS

The best time to buy pears is late August through October depending on the area you live in. Warmer climates will have pears available earlier and cooler climates have pears that mature later in the season.

WHERE TO BUY PEARS

When buying pears it is best to buy local. The best tasting pears are those that have been picked prior to maturity. Pears that have been left to ripen too long on a tree tend to be grainy and/or mushy. Just the opposite of most fruits where staying on the tree until maturity is more beneficial. 

HOW TO CHOOSE PEARS

Pears are the one fruit that tastes better when picked prior to maturity. Pears ripen from the inside out, if your pear is soft on the outside it is already too ripe. To tell if a pear is ripe, gently apply pressure at the edge of the stem. If the pear gives slightly it is partially ripe and perfect for poaching, roasting and baking. If the area easily yields to pressure but doesn’t feel mushy it is ready to eat or puree into sauces. 

Pears should also be pleasantly aromatic with a fresh sweet smell. Organic pears will have the best taste.

STORING PEARS

Store pears at room temperature until ripe. To hasten ripening place in a paper bag or leave in a cool place covered with a towel. Once ripened, place in the refrigerator where the pears will keep for up to a week.

PRESERVING PEARS

Pears lend themselves well to canning, freezing, drying, and making wonderful butters.  When freezing it is best to use pears that are partially ripened and still firm.  

Preserve the Harvest: Spiced Ginger Pear Butter SPICED GINGER PEAR BUTTER

Spiced Ginger Pear Butter is a wonderful spread to have around. Much like apple butter it can be used as a spread on biscuits or toast, a filling for a tart or an accompaniment for savory meat dishes. I also like to use it with chicken or turkey on sandwiches for a gourmet twist. No matter how you choose to spread it, the spiced ginger flavor is sure to be a favorite.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Spiced Ginger Pear Butter
 
Ingredients
  • 5 cups pears, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp chopped candied ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 whole cloves
  • sugar
Instructions
  1. Place sliced pears and 1 cup water into non reactive medium sized pan and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until pears have softened.
  3. With stick blender, (or food processors) blend pears until smooth.
  4. Measure puree and return to pan.
  5. For each cup of puree add 1¼ cups sugar.
  6. Place cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a spice bag or tied into cheesecloth and add to puree mixture.
  7. Return mixture to boil, reduce heat and simmer until mixture is thickened, stirring as needed to prevent sticking. (this may take 1-2 hours)
  8. Once thickened, remove spice bag.
  9. Ladle into hot sterilized jars and process for 10 minutes.
  10. Makes about 3 cups.

Recipe adapted from The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round

SUPPLIES YOU WILL NEED

The following recipe is processed using a water bath canning process. If you have never canned before or need a refresher the National Center for Home Food Preservation is the gold standard of information. I would encourage you to head over and read their general canning information.

Resources: The Splendid Table: When to Buy Pears

Spiced Ginger Pear Butter shared with:

*Back to the Basics: Tuesdays with a Twist  *The Ultimate Linky: Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop *Creative K Kids: Tasty Tuesdays *Savvy Southerner: Wow Us Wednesday’s  *My Paper Craze: Creative Spark *Organic For Green Livings: Real Food Fridays *Jordon’s Onion: Thank Goodness it’s Thursday * The Pin Junkie: Pin Junkie Pin Party * Juggling Real Food and Real Life: Let’s Get Real *Feathers in the Woods: Green Thumb Thursday *Weekend Wind-Down *In the Kitchen with Jenny: Foodie Friends Friday *Natasha in Oz: Say G’day  *Raia’s Recipes: Savoring Saturday’s *Our Rosey Life: Share it Sunday *Pebbles and Piggytails: Saturday Dishes *The Ultimate Linky: Bloggers Brags *Plucky’s Second Thoughts * My Pinterest Adventures: Merry Monday Link Party * Mrs. AOK: Mommy Monday *Yesterfood: Treasure Box Tuesday *April J Harris: Hearth and Soul Blog Hop *Lou Lou Girls: Lou Lou Girls

Disclosure of Material *Simply Sweets: Party in Your PJ’sConnection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”