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The mystery of the rock-hard sweet potato

I bought sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving, but in the crush of food that me and my fantastic guests made and brought, they became superfluous, which means I’m now managing a sweet potato surplus. Earlier this week, I started dispatching them using a great recipe for Soy-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Sesame Seeds I found on my friend Kalyn’s blog.

I recommended the recipe to my coworker, Kim, the day after I made them. “I love sweet potatoes,” she said. “I’ll have to try it.”

Then Kim told me a story of a recent sweet potato experience she’d had at their house, one where she’d baked four sweet potatoes the requisite amount of time in the oven, but one of the four refused to soften up. The other three? Perfect. The fourth? Rock hard, no matter how long she left it in the oven.

We could not figure out why that would be. Anyone out there know the scoop? What dread disease or state of affairs would cause a sweet potato to remain impervious to the heat of the oven?

4 Comments on “The mystery of the rock-hard sweet potato”

  1. #1 Rebecca M
    on Dec 3rd, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    My understanding of that situation is that the potato may not have been properly cured. Something may have happened that the curing process didn’t work right, or it somehow missed curing. By curing, I mean that after harvest, the potatoes should be cured about 10 days at 80-85 degrees and high humidity. After that, they should be stored at about 55-65 degrees. Storing in a location that is too cold can also cause the hard core when baking.

    Here is a link to an article about curing and storing sweet potatoes:

  2. #2 inadvertentgardener
    on Dec 3rd, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Rebecca, that’s awesome information — how interesting! I had no idea…

  3. #3 Karen Blanton
    on Dec 5th, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    All “curing” explanations aside I think that potatoes was channeling Tiger Woods and just didn’t want to open up. It’s not easy being a role model when the heat is on!

  4. #4 inadvertentgardener
    on Dec 6th, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Kären, you crack me up… :-)

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