Heck yeah you can eat them! After growing and trying the sweet potato tops your first time, you’ll be wondering why camotes (sweet potatoes) and their nutritious greens are not in the market.
Camotes are in the Convolvulaceae family with flowering morning glory vines. Unlike potatoes, you can also eat the leaves of camotes, which are very nutritious. The camote tops or leaves are excellent sources of antioxidative compounds, mainly polyphenols, which may protect the human body from oxidative stress that is associated with many diseases including cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Besides simple starches, raw sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber and beta-carotene, while having moderate contents of other micronutrients, including vitamin B5, vitamin B6, manganese and potassium.
An interesting study by Georgia State University even found that the polyphenol-rich camote tops inhibit proliferation and induce cell death in prostate cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. You can download the study PDF here. It’ll be great to see more research on this unique edible green.
Camotes are easy to grow from cutting and they can handle poor soil, hot sun and neglect. Learn more by checking out our profile on the camote.
Jodi just made an excellent salad using camote tops. Thee greens can be eaten raw or cooked.
One other awesome thing about the camote plant, is that you’ll always have left over greens to share with your livestock. We give 20-30 lbs of camote tops chickens and ducks when we clean up. They devour them within 48 hours.