Georgia Jet Sweet Potato. Suh-weet!
The sweet potato is not the most beautiful of vegetables, with its long, irregular shapes and craggy, pitted outer skin. But its interior is truly a thing of beauty. The Georgia Jet Sweet Potato is a good variety for home gardens. In 90-100 days, the plant will yield potatoes with red skin and bright orange flesh. This variety is somewhat cold tolerant.
Ornamental sweet potato vines are common in container gardens, as the leaves are a unique shape and they come in colors from lime to deep green and dark purple. The edible varieties of sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas, are related to the morning glory plant. They produce leaves that are also edible. The leaves of the edible varieties, including Georgia Jet, are as nutritious and versatile as any other greens.
Slow cooking and sweet potatoes are a natural partnership. The tuberous root can be diced, and then cooked with greens, rhubarb, or meats, and the soft texture of the cooked flesh is a nice contrast to denser white potatoes, as well, when cooked together in a crock pot. Baked sweet potato can be sliced open and served with butter and brown sugar, molasses and raisins, or crumbled pecans and orange marmalade. Purists are happy eating them plain, since their flavor is dense and sweet.
Sweet potatoes are a rich source of beta carotene, which converts to Vitamin A in the body. They also contain Vitamin C, B6, and minerals manganese, copper, potassium and iron. They're an excellent source of dietary fiber, known for many health benefits. Georgia Jet rates high on taste tests of sweet potato comparisons.
Like other varieties, the Georgia Jet Sweet Potato thrives in bright, full sun and a well-drained soil. They can be propagated by stem or root cuttings or by slips, which are part of the tuberous root that are prepared for planting.
Sweet potatoes are grown all over the world, but South Carolina is the leading commercial growing state. Home gardeners throughout the U.S. have good luck with this plant, because it's easy to grow. The quick-growing vines shade out weeds, and the plant is disease resistant, meaning novices will generally have few problems getting a bountiful harvest their first season growing sweet potatoes, as long as they start with healthy plants or slips.
The Georgia Jet Sweet Potato is one of the earlier varieties to mature. The tubers grow below emerald green leaves. Georgia Jet is meaty and sweet, and great for baking. It's one of the sweet potatoes recommended for northern growing regions.
Harvest by carefully digging the tubers out of the dirt, around the time of the first fall frost. Sweet potatoes can keep in cool, relatively humid storage for up to 6 months, making them a nice mid-season or late season harvest vegetable. They must be cured before storage, by keeping them in a temperature-controlled area at 80 to 85 degrees for 10 to 14 days or between 65 and 70 degrees for two to three weeks. Then, store at 50 to 60 degrees over the winter. Don't allow temps to drop below 50, or the air to get to dry, or the tubers will be damaged.