If you have ever eaten a sweet potato immediately after harvest, you know that the results can be very tasteless and too starchy. To allow its cultivation to reach its full potential, cure sweet potatoes by letting them rest in a warm, humid environment for 4 to 14 days. This will turn your starches into sugars, heal wounds on the potato’s surface, and thicken your skins to seal in natural moisture. Ideal curing conditions are around 85 ° F (29 ° C) with 80-90% humidity. Using a few simple tricks, you can reach these conditions on your farm or home, ensuring delicious and hearty sweet potato treats.
Preparation of Sweet Potatoes
The brush for large accumulations of dirt or mud. After growing and harvesting the sweet potatoes, using your hands or a towel gently brush off large clumps of dirt, mud, or clay. But resist the temptation to wash: even though sweet potatoes need to be in a humid environment to cure, the tubers themselves should not be wet. If they are, excess moisture can cause rot. If your sweet potatoes are damp when they are dug up (due to a recent rain or watering), be sure to dry thoroughly before curing. Don’t totally worry about cleaning your sweet potatoes: you can do that after the curing process when your skin is thicker.
The pressure hanging roots. Separate the bunches of potatoes, as well as any extra growths or roots. Although this can cause injury to sweet potatoes, the curing process creates a second skin on any scratches and bruises. If you have to cut sweet potatoes to separate them, that’s fine! Even cutting the ends generally heal more during curing – just try to minimize the size of the cuts.
Move the sweet potato for curing location quickly. Curing should begin within a couple of hours of harvest. Even a delay of just over 12 hours between harvest and curing has been shown to produce less reliable results.
Hot Cured, Wet Environment
Rest the sweet potatoes in a greenhouse, if you have one available. If you have access to a greenhouse, you can easily cure your crops by placing them in an out-of-the-way corner. Simply place the sweet potatoes in a box, covered with a damp towel, and place in the warm greenhouse. Instead of a box, you can also use a cooler bag to help create moisture.
Using a plastic bag and a sunny window if you don’t have access to a greenhouse. If you don’t have a greenhouse, you can create similar conditions in your home. Take a plastic bag and make a couple of holes in it. Place the sweet potatoes in the bag in a single layer. Then tie the bag closed and place it in a warm, sunny window. If it is cold or draining your windows, cover the bag with a blanket or towel, when the sun is not shining.
Place the sweet potatoes in a small room with a space heater for an out-of-the-way option. Place the sweet potatoes in a box or bucket and place it in a small space, such as a pantry or closet. Add a bucket full of water to increase humidity) and a warm space at 85 ° F (29 ° C). Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature in the room and make sure you have ideal curing conditions. Unless you own a space heater designed specifically for use in bathrooms, be careful to avoid your own wet space heater.
Cure your sweet potatoes in the oven if you have a smaller batch. Begin by installing a 40 watt light bulb in the oven. Then place a tray of water on the bottom rack of the oven and the tray of sweet potatoes on top of the rack. Turn on the light (but leave the oven off) and close the oven most of the way, leaving only one sliver open. Use the thermometer to check the oven temperature a couple of hours later – it should be around 85 ° F (29 ° C). If your oven gets too hot, open the door a little more. If you don’t heat up enough, try closing the oven door or installing a strong light bulb. Since the curing process lasts 4 to 14 days, you will need to use an oven that is not part of your daily routine. If the oven door does not stay ajar, try using a thin metal spatula to keep it open.
Finishing the Curing Process
Check to see if sweet potatoes are done after 4-5 days. When the sweet potatoes are finished, they should be slightly moist and significantly firmer. If they are still smooth after your first check, let them dry for a couple more days and try again. If your temperatures or humidity levels are not very ideal, curing can take up to 2 weeks. If any sweet potatoes remain tender after the rest have finished, this means they have not been properly cured. Discard these by preventing others from spoiling faster.
Cure in a dark, 55 ° F (13 ° C) room for 6-8 weeks. Remove the sweet potatoes from the warm and humid room and remove from their bags or boxes. Pack of sweet ham potatoes in straw or individually wrapped in newspaper and place them in a wooden or cardboard box without a lid. Move the painting to a dark, cool location, such as a basement or basement. Allow the sweet potato to rest an additional 6 to 8 weeks to finish the curing process. Don’t have a basement? Try to store sweet potatoes under your bed. If you want to use sweet potatoes more quickly, you can skip this step and eat right after removing them from moisture. However, the longer it is left to rest in a cool, dark space, the sweetest of what they will become.
Store curing sweet potatoes in a cool environment for up to 12 months. Curing sweet potatoes can last up to a year if kept at a temperature of around 55 ° F (13 ° C) 60 ° F (16 ° C). Find a place with some humidity (about 75 to 85%) and pack the sweet potatoes in a wooden box or crate to allow air to circulate. You can safely store your finished sweet potatoes wherever you finish your cure: a basement, a basement, or under a bed. Avoid placing in the fridge, as sweet potatoes are easily damaged by low temperatures.