WORLD’S RAREST TRUE YAM SUPERFOOD

MY EXOTIC SECRETS DIOSCOREA ALATA DARK NIGHT ST VINCENT PURPLE YAM COOKED
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PURPLE YAM – HOW WE BECAME FRIENDS

MY EXOTIC SECRETS DIOSCOREA ALATA DARK NIGHT ST VINCENT PURPLE YAM COOKEDDioscorea alata sp. Dark Night St. Vincent purple yams – When I was a little girl, we lived up in our own slice of Eutopia. Nestled in the cool mountains of the Cockpit country in pristine Trelawny, Jamaica was our slice of paradise and on it, we planted.

 

My parents had created a lovely backyard production of corn (Maize), callaloo (Amaranthus), cucumbers (Cucumis), Otaheite apples (Syzygium Malaccense), sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum), dasheen (Colocasia), badu (Colocasia), tomatoes(Solanum), sorrel (Hibiscus sabdariffa), Jamaican Almonds (Terminalia catappa) and so much more. Among this lot was one root of Dark Night St. Vincent Purple yam (Dioscorea alata sp.).

 

DIOSCOREA ALATA – SURPRISE AT THE MARKET

MY EXOTIC SECRETS DIOSCOREA ALATA DARK NIGHT ST VINCENT PURPLE YAM SERVEDWe’d had the rare sighting of the dark night St. Vincent purple yam at the market. It was piled in a display and mom had purchased a piece from the woman who owned the stall. After cooking some, I guess she was inspired to replicate it because she had dad procure a post to support the rampant vine that would dance up from the earth with seemingly unmatched passion and she planted the head of the yam we had bought.

 

The vine was glorious and beautiful with it’s purple and green, heart-shaped leaves shining in the sun as it wound its’ purple tendrils up and down and about the post it had been provided. It hung gracefully, a thick mass of purple and bright green hearts all about that the post was no longer visible by the time the plant had matured.

 

DARK NIGHT HARVEST

 MY EXOTIC SECRETS DIOSCOREA ALATA DARK NIGHT ST VINCENT PURPLE YAM HARVESTING

I remember us attempting to dig up the massive root it had produced without breaking it or separating any of the pieces. We failed. It was simply too much. I don’t know if it was because it had been grown in what was known as the yam parish of Jamaica (where most of the yam production takes place) but it was massive! That was the day I became entranced by the dark night St. Vincent purple yam – Dioscorea Alata.

MY EXOTIC SECRETS DIOSCOREA ALATA DARK NIGHT ST VINCENT PURPLE YAM HARVEST

It wasn’t my first experience with the purple yam. I’d eaten it many times before. It was, my first time growing it and I guess just being a part of the process and watching it flourish so well under our care made it exceptional for me. What I hadn’t known then was that the rest of the world was yet to catch on, but boy, did they!

 

DIOSCOREA ALATA PURPLE YAM: THE SUPERFOOD

It doesn’t surprise me now that it is among the long list of things I was blessed to grow up with that the world now refers to as Superfoods. With the number of superfoods that have been part of my diet all my life, I’m just waiting for a big “S” to be burned into my chest any day now; forget the cape… Seriously speaking though, Dioscorea alata is truly a treasure and I’m going to give you all the reasons why you want this amazing Dark Night St. Vincent yam and simply don’t know it yet.

 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF PURPLE YAM: DIOSCOREA ALATA

MY EXOTIC SECRETS DIOSCOREA ALATA DARK NIGHT ST VINCENT PURPLE YAM PLATEDI bet you didn’t know that the Dioscorea alata Dark Night St. Vincent yam was rich in riboflavin, vitamin B6, thiamine, vitamin A, niacin, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, and Vitamin K. It also offers up zinc, protein and iron. One serving could provide up to 50% of your daily recommended consumption of fiber!

PROTECT YOUR BODY WITH PURPLE YAM

Consuming the dark night St. Vincent purple yam can help you counteract infections such as flu and colds and speeds up the healing process, immune function. It also helps you build stronger bones. In fact, members of the Asian community have been known to traditionally apply Dioscorea alata in a poultice to wounds to sooth and speed up the healing process. It has also been used as a holistic way of treating depression If that’s not a superfood, I don’t know what is!

MY EXOTIC SECRETS DIOSCOREA ALATA DARK NIGHT ST VINCENT PURPLE YAM HARVEST PLANT

That’s not all! Dioscorea alata Dark night St. Vincent purple yams are very rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants, on a whole, play an integral role in protecting us from the inside, building strong bodies and extending the years of long, healthy, enjoyable lives.

 

 

OF ANTIOXIDANTS & DIOSCOREA

 

MY EXOTIC SECRETS DIOSCOREA ALATA DARK NIGHT ST VINCENT PURPLE YAM LEAVESAntioxidants called anthocyanins -which dark night St. Vincent purple yams provide in abundance – are specifically linked to a range of health benefits. Purple yams can help you maintain a healthy urinary and respiratory system and the high manganese content increases your energy level and can positively impact not just your mood but your productivity.

According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), previous research has linked anthocyanins to a wide variety of health claims, including increased longevity, cardiovascular health, cancer prevention and dementia. A study in the European Journal of Nutrition found it improved brain power in children between the ages of seven to ten years old. Additionally, the pace of converting the carbohydrates present in Dioscorea Alata into sugar is very sluggish which helps to curb the increase of blood sugar level in the human body and makes it a perfect food for diabetics to add to their diet.

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE DIOSCOREA ALATA PURPLE YAM PLANT

This thing grows more rapidly than anything you’ve ever seen! I knew I was going to share this with you guys but I still made a few videos so could follow the journey of our Dark Night St. Vincent purple yam plants this season because I knew some of you simply would not believe me unless you saw it for yourselves. Dioscorea alata is no joke. Our vines will put out anywhere from one to five feet of new growth weekly!

 

PLANTING PURPLE YAM

 MY EXOTIC SECRETS DIOSCOREA ALATA DARK NIGHT ST VINCENT PURPLE YAM SEEDLING

Needless to say, the dark night St. Vincent purple yam is a tropical. It thrives naturally in warm, dry areas with moderate rainfall and proper drainage. As a matter of fact, our farmers would always plant the yams in a mound instead of a hole. We’ve had clients grow them outdoors in subtropical regions. We’ve also had others grow them in huge pots, greenhouses or start them indoors each year and transplant after the last threat of frost. All of those are options you can exercise depending on where you live.

The good thing is, since we’ve seen it ourselves, done it ourselves and had clients share their testimonials with us, you know it’s possible. I mean, unless you’re in Greenland somewhere kissing the North Pole, it’s possible to grow this plant successfully wherever you are. Ensure you’re able to provide proper aerial support. It is not a runner but a climber.

DIOSCOREA ALATA: BEHAVIOR

Dioscoea alata doesn’t sprawl unless untrained which is why it’s ideal to provide a harbor that’s mostly vertical. One year, we grew ours in the greenhouse and it literally grew like a garland along the rails and supporting beams down the center of the greenhouse roof. It was gorgeous though and we enjoyed the experiment. For the clients in subtropical regions, I’m told the MY EXOTIC SECRETS DIOSCOREA ALATA DARK NIGHT ST VINCENT PURPLE YAMvine dies back in the fall and the roots produce new vines in the spring. Those in colder regions save bulbils from their mature vines for planting the following spring and start them indoors to get a head-start on the growing season. As always, you know if you ever have any questions or desire assistance with anything at all we are at your disposal.

 

PURPLE YAM HARVESTTIME

So when we’ve dug up this thing what do we do with it? Well, firstly, it needs to be cooked before consumption. Eating raw Dioscorea of any kind is bound to give you an itch. It is highly unlikely you will enjoy that so please, don’t do it. You can peel the skin away or wash the dirt away thoroughly before slicing or chopping and boiling, steaming, baking, roasting, grilling, or stewing.

MY EXOTIC SECRETS DIOSCOREA ALATA DARK NIGHT ST VINCENT PURPLE YAM ROOT

DIOSCOREA ALATA USES

 

After the yam has been cooked the possibilities are endless. You can spice it and make a stir fry. You can make ice-cream. You can serve slices of purple yam with your favorite meat or seafood dishes. You can make pies, cookies, cakes, punches, smoothies, sauces… the possibilities are truly endless! Feel free to experiment with other traditional dishes you may have and share them with us! You won’t regret adding this versatile and beneficial conversation piece to your table. Happy gardening!

RECIPE: CASSAVA CAKE

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CASSAVA & THE JAMAICAN TRADITIONS

Cassava has been rooted in Jamaican history since before the British. It was a major part of the Arawak diet. If you’ve been fortunate enough to traverse the banks of Middle Quarters – a bustling fishing district in cool and industrious St. Elizabeth, Jamaica – you probably would have had the pleasure of authentic Jamaican fried fish, peppered shrimp and bammy. If you haven’t and you’ve a penchant for the spic things in life you should stop by.

 

 

THE ORIGINAL CASSAVA CAKE

Now shrimp you’ve heard of and fish certainly but what is bammy? Bammy has been music to my palate since I was a toddler and I’m not alone in this; far from it. It’s a traditional Jamaican favorite and I pray the matriarch of our family won’t be displeased by my revealing these secrets to you. It’s sort of like a flatbread made entirely from cassava roots that have been cleaned and pounded by hand. Every Jamaican household has their own spin on the preparation of bammy. We generally like to pair it with traditional and usually spicy salting like ackee and saltfish, mackerel rundown, jerk pork or jerk chicken, and peppered shrimp.

 

I visited the oldest bammy factory in the hills of Montego Bay when I was a teenager and enjoyed the grand tour. You’d think the factories did it differently but creating this masterpiece is not a process to be rushed. Why? That can only be properly answered when you take your first bite into a piece after it’s been soaked in coconut milk and fried. That might take a while for you to access. Raw cassava roots are easier to get a hold of though so I’m sharing a much easier cassava recipe you can experiment with this Summer.

 

CASSAVA CAKE RECIPE

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

For Your Cake

 

3 lbs of grated cassava

3 cups of coconut milk

1 cup of raw agave nectar

1 cup of coconut cream

½ cup of coconut flour

2 ounces of coconut oil

4 eggs (you can save three of the yolks for the topping)

1 tbsp of molasses

½ tsp of nutmeg (finely grated)

Pinch of salt

 

For Your Topping

 

½ cup of coconut milk

½ cup of agave nectar

3 egg yolks

 

HOW TO PREPARE

You’ll want to preheat your oven at 350° Fahrenheit. Prepare 2 shallow 8-inch baking pans by greasing them and set them aside. Combine all your cake ingredients. You can either use an electric mixer or mix in a bowl until consistency is even throughout. Pour your mixture into your prepared pans and bake for 50 minutes.

While your cakes are baking, pour your topping ingredients into a blender and blend well. When your cakes are firm in the center (after about 50 minutes in the oven), remove them from the oven and pour your topping over them. Turn the oven off. Put your cakes back in the oven and leave them there for about 8 minutes until the sweet topping has set. Now you can remove and enjoy!

 

SERVING IDEAS

After your cake is cool, you can cut it into squares, triangles or whatever shape you like. You can serve as is or with cheese, avocado, ice-cream, or fruit. Some fruit and herbs like cherries, grapes, mint leaves or shredded coconut make wonderfully complimentary garnish for your cassava cake.

Avoid pairing your cassava cake with tangy flavors like pineapple, lemon and kiwi. They don’t seem to be very enjoyable together. You can also drizzle with caramel, molasses or condensed milk to your liking. Feel free to experiment with the ingredients and don’t hesitate to share! Enjoy! Have fun and a great Summer!

CASSAVA: ORIGINS OF TAPIOCA

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WHAT IS CASSAVA

That’s right! Tapioca is a product of the cassava plant. What on earth is cassava, you ask? Cassava plants are tall tropical bushes of spiny stems and broad green leaves of three or more lobes. Yes, they make interesting garden plants but that’s not what makes them most desired. The most fascinating and beneficial parts of the cassava plant are its’ roots. Beneath the soil surface, cassava plants produce a collection of thick, nutrient-dense, starchy roots up to a meter in length that make for healthy, tasty dishes.

 

CASSAVA & JAMAICAN HISTORY

Most of you are probably aware that I’m Jamaican by birth. I was an adult when I moved away. Hence, I’ve always tried to keep the traditional recipes and foods passed down to my through generations of preservation very close. Cassava is one such food. Cassava has been rooted in Jamaican history since before the British. It was a major part of the diet of the Arawaks who once called the former Xamaica home. In fact, it was their main crop. They’d bake it into bread then it was usually paired with fish as they relied heavily on fishing as a people.

 

Over the years, Jamaica has preserved a version of this Arawak cassava bread we now call bammy. Bammy is essentially cassava that’s been pounded and dehydrated then shaped into thin, flat cakes like a flatbread. These bammy cakes are later soaked in a mixture of your choosing (usually involving coconut milk) before they’re baked, fried, or roasted. It seems there are other ways to marry cassava and coconut. A delicious cassava pudding is also made with the two as main ingredients and is sometimes referred to as cassava cake. You can find this easy and rewarding recipe here.

 

CASSAVA & I

I was an adult when I discovered that tapioca – a custard flavor I always enjoyed – was a product of something growing in our family home this whole time. I mean, cassava and I are woven together. I grew up on bammy. Most Jamaicans at home will tell you nothing different. Cassava cake, however, was a much rarer delicacy, much like sweet potato pone – a pudding made from the Jamaican sweet potato. Cassava cake was only likely to be encountered on special occasions like birthdays, parties, weddings and Chritmastime. The thing that’s become a favorite for our household of late is cassava porridge – yet another way to marry cassava and coconut milk. You’ll find there are many ways to incorporate cassava into your diet. You can find some great ideas in our list of recipes.

 

GROWING CASSAVA PLANTS

Now, you know here at My Exotic Secrets, we tend to focus on making tropical and exotic plants that were formerly deemed out of reach available to you in your own space wherever you are in the world. We’re placing paradise at your fingertips. This sometimes means designing, executing and sharing creative ideas wherein tropical plants can double as useful and ornamental in a small space, especially in colder regions. Passiflora, sapote and dragonfruit are some of my favorite examples of this. Cassava, however, is not.

 

Unlike sweet potato (Ipomoea) and yam (Dioscorea) plants – great root plants for potting, cassava cannot be tamed and should not be grown in a small space if you’re expecting a good yield. This means any pot under 20 gallons is out the window. In fact, it’s ideal to not limit the roots capacity to grow at all. Therefore, it’d be best to plant your cassava directly in the ground and watch it thrive.

 

PLANTING

You’ll want to give them lots of space, leaving four feet between each plant. They love loose, loamy soil with proper drainage. Waterlogging is a bad idea with cassava. Never leave standing water on your cassava roots or you’ll be sorely disappointed. Ensure your cassava plants will get lots of warmth too. They’re not very forgiving when it comes to cold. Cassava is truly a tropical and it isn’t willing to compromise. Sorry guys – this one has limits and it isn’t going to negotiate with me. Nonetheless, if you’re blessed with the ideal conditions in your area, it is definitely worth the investment. Interestingly, I was once part of an online forum in which someone shared their experience of growing coconut plants indoors – a feat I would have formerly thought unyielding. It turns out I was wrong. Maybe there is hope for those of us cassava lovers who live in frosty or extreme climatic conditions. Regardless, I never want to set you up for disappointment. If you brave those waters and are successful I’d love to hear your story and I’m sure other kindred hearts would too.

 

CASSAVA HEALTH BENEFITS

Cassava is a good source of vitamins, minerals and dietary support like fiber, calcium, magnesium, saponins, phosphorus, manganese, iron, potassium and zinc. These minerals are necessary for proper development, growth and function of your body’s tissues. This helps protect the formation and preservation of bones and teeth, connective tissue and sex hormones. Cassava also promotes digestion, healthy weight loss and lasting satiety. It can even lower your blood sugar and the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

 

With 38 grams of carbohydrates per 100-gram serving, cassava is a good energy source for individuals who engage in strenuous physical activities. Cassava is also gluten-free so it’s a good substitute for oats, barley and wheat. If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac, tapioca or cassava flour is your new best friend. I shared a cassava cake square with a friend with celiac a few weeks back and she loved it!

 

USES

Because it’s so starchy, cassava is very versatile. You can use your yucca root as is or you can use cassava or tapioca flour. This makes it great for baking cakes, cookies, bread, and other pastries. You can make fries, have it steamed and mashed or just steamed. You can also try cassava porridge, punch, milkshake, ice-cream, custard or stew. Add it to your soups for a smooth, creamy flavor and texture. Remember, you can substitute other starchy requirements in your recipes with cassava. Experiment and discover but always remember to have fun! Enjoy!

RECIPE: JAMAICAN SWEET POTATO PUDDING

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Hopefully, my family doesn’t disown me for letting out such a big family secret as this recipe. My grandmother – the matriarch of our family – is the queen of the sweet potato pudding. I know many Jamaicans will tell you that but in my case, it’s true.

Community tourism is a program run by the Jamaican Ministry of Tourism that allows visitors to the island an experience of Jamaica that’s somewhat “off the beaten path”. You’ll stay in the homes of vetted families and have the privilege of enjoying some of the best of Jamaican living in a safe, fun, warm environment! My grandmother has participated in community tourism for years.  People come and watch her make this sweet potato pudding over and over and over again. They watch closely, take their notes and leave. They fly home, then she gets the call – they can’t replicate it.

 

It has taken me a long time to refine the recipe and fashion it into something consistent – ironing out the hit and miss. This is mainly because my grandmother taught me to bake. You’d think that makes it easier, right? WRONG! Firstly, I never saw the recipe on paper. The only place it was written down was in her brain. Secondly, ol’ time people – an elite class to which my grandmother belongs – do not believe in measuring instruments. She never used measuring spoons, cups or anything the like. Hence, everything is weighed and measured by hand and perfectly so every single time. I suppose if I’d been doing that for the better part of seven decades I’d be good at it too. I hope to be. Until then, I’ve designed a recipe with actual measurements to guide the rest of us to perfection. I hope you enjoy!

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

3 lbs of the Jamaican Sweet Potato

1 lb of flour (I now prefer a mix of almond meal and tapioca flour)

2 cups of coconut milk

1 cup of brown sugar (Note: you can use honey or agave instead)

1 tbsp of coconut oil

1 tspn of powdered nutmeg

1 tspn of molasses

1 tspn of vanilla

A pinch of salt

Optional: 1 cup of raisins

 

NOTE: If you’re planning on adding the slushy effect to your sweet potato pudding, you’ll need to procure a few additional ingredients.

1 cup of coconut milk

1 egg yolk

½ cup of sugar

 

HOW TO PREPARE

Wash your sweet potatoes and peel them. Rinse again and grate your sweet potatoes into a bowl. Add coconut milk, coconut oil and wet spices to your sweet potato bowl. (You can add your raisins as well if you’ve chosen to include them in your pudding.)

In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. After you’ve done this, you can mix your dry ingredients into the rest of your sweet potato cauldron. Ensure they are thoroughly and evenly combined before pouring your mixture into 2 greased medium baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour.

 

ABOUT THAT SWEET SLUSHY

If you’re going for the traditional pudding with the sweet slushy on the top you’ll need to remove your pudding from the oven ten minutes earlier. Toss all three ingredients into a blender and blend thoroughly. Apply the slushy mixture all over the top of your pudding. Place the pan back into the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Allow your pudding to cool before cutting.

 

SERVING IDEAS

You can serve warm or cool. I’m sure you’ll figure out your preferences immediately. You can serve small cubes with ice-cream. Our children always enjoy having a slice with milk. We wouldn’t dare overshadow the traditional Christmas cake with pudding at Christmastime but sweet potato pudding is a welcome addition to our thanksgiving table. We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do.

PASSION PURPLE SWEET POTATO

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SWEET POTATO DEFINED

 

Sweet potato is one of our family’s favorite roots and with good reason. A sweet potato is essentially the fleshy tubers of some varieties of the ipomoea genus that we like to employ in the kitchen for their natural sweetness and their aid in good health. Most people may not recognize that sweet potato belongs to the most popular genus of the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae). This makes it a very useful and ornamental vine that’s guaranteed to reward you with delicious and healthy edible roots at the end of each planting season.

 

HOW I MET THE PURPLE PASSION SWEET POTATO

Christmastime in New York is interesting and magical in its own way. Things are busier than usual (if you can imagine that being a possibility) and everyone tries to be a bit more cheerful despite the dampening weather’s influence. The markets are also different between thanksgiving and Christmastime. They feature produce you’re not likely to see year-round. This is where I discovered the purple passion sweet potato.

 

THIS STRANGE THING CALLED SWEET POTATO

It was just after thanksgiving. I’d been picking up groceries in a market upstate when I happened on it. I was maneuvering my shopping basket and my person through dips, swirls and glides, trying to avoid some unfortunate collision with the many shoppers around me. My intent was to find some Japanese sweet potato, procure some spices and duck out of the crazy scene as quickly as I possibly could… but this wood nymph isn’t going to give up an opportunity to explore the strange and Strange was indeed piled into the basket next to the Japanese sweet potatoes I’d come for.

 

IN LOVE WITH PURPLE PASSION

They were dark but smooth. They basically appeared to be Japanese sweet potatoes in shape but with the color of dark-night, St. Vincent purple yams (Dioscorea alata). I was intrigued so I bought a few along with my Japanese sweet potatoes (just in case the family and I decided we didn’t like ‘Strange’). I’ll tell you what though; I do not regret it. I only wish I’d found it sooner! I first had it baked which was a good choice. It’s still my favorite method of cooking these sweet, dark tubers of perfection! I love how the color gets darker and richer with cooking. Actually, there’s nothing I don’t love about this plant and I’m elated to share it with you!

 

PURPLE PASSION SWEET POTATO PROPERTIES

It’s been almost a decade since I fell in love with the purple passion sweet potatoes and our family continues to reap the benefits of growing and utilizing this beautiful, delicious, versatile morning glory plant. Like the Jamaican, the texture and flavor of the passion purple sweet potato is far superior to the more common orange varieties readily available in U.S. markets. Their texture makes them ideal candidates for pastries, creams, baking and punches and it’s very sweetly fragrant when cooked. You’ve got to try making some sweet potato ice-cream with this jewel! There is none to compare. Plus, its’ color improves from a sweet lilac to a rich, dark violet when cooked. This makes it a great addition to any table, providing contrast and appealing to the senses.

 

SWEET POTATO: RAINBOW ROOT

Isn’t it amazing how one root could come in so many variations? How many have you experienced: purple, red, orange, pink, gold, and white-flesh tubers? The purple passion sweet potato is an interesting variety. Thick, light-green vines produce heart-shaped, bright-green leaves with trumpet-like blooms of pink and violet popping up within the folds. The vines produce tubers that are generally much sweeter and firmer than any of the widely cultivated types on the global market. The tubers of this purple sweet potato are also usually more elongated that rounded which makes for perfect slices. The thin, dark skin gives way to firm, purple flesh that leaves you with endless possibilities for cooking, serving and enjoying.

 

USES

 

Speaking of cooking, perhaps one of the best properties of this purple sweet potato is that like the Jamaican variety, it has the ability to hold its’ form when cooked. It has a nice, firm, even texture when boiled or used in pudding and shakes. You’ll learn that this variety is best used in cooking methods that require added moisture. Try using it for cookies, pies and ice-cream! I’ve used it as a substitute for the traditional Jamaican sweet potato pudding when there’s no Jamaican white or Japanese sweet potato at hand. This sweet potato makes excellent cookies, cakes, ice-cream, milkshake, punch, porridge, buns, and so much more! Seriously though, you’ve got to try the ice-cream!

 

IPOMOEA: PURPLE SWEET POTATO PLANT

Let’s not forget that the plant also has its’ host of uses. The sweet potato plant makes an elegant ornamental and it’s perfect for small spaces or short seasons. You can plant it in a hanging basket on your porch. You can even train your plants over a lattice, arch, gazebo, or swing in your garden or landscape. If you’re looking for elegant groundcover, you can plant it over that rocky bed, along your driveway or any awkward space in your home, school or office.

 

PLANTING SWEET POTATO

 

Be mindful that the sweet potato is a creeper vine so if it is potted, I’d suggest putting it in a large hanging basket. They require very little attention once the right conditions are provided. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that they love warmth. Sweet potatoes thrive in warmer regions. Just provide rich, breathable soil and irrigation. Be sure there’s allowance for water runoff. The roots do not like to be waterlogged as this may cause root rot.

 

Plant your sweet potato slips at least a foot apart and watch them dance into maturity. Here’s the best part! You can harvest your sweet potato in as little as three months! This makes it perfect for those of us who live in temperate regions with only a few months of warmer weather. You can add this sweet potato plant to your garden this season and enjoy all the benefits. Our honey bees find the flowers very attractive so if you’ve an apiary, its’ presence will only serve to aid your production. If your plants are producing a profusion of flowers it’s usually a good indicator that they’re mature. I like to harvest by hand and not with tools as that can damage the sweet potato tubers. You can protect your hands with gloves as you unearth your treasures.

 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF SWEET POTATO

 

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A. They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6, potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus. The antioxidant known as anthocyanin is the pigment which is responsible for the brilliant purple color of the flesh. It is the same pigment that gives blueberries, red grapes and red cabbage their color.

 

The purple sweet potato actually has 150 percent more antioxidants than blueberries! What does all this mean for you really? You can boost your energy levels, skin health, and brain power just by eating sweet potatoes. The ipomoea tuber can also help in treating obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, colon and prostate cancer, infertility, constipation, inflammation and eye conditions.

 

SWEET POTATO & DIABETES

 

If you’re a diabetic, this bit is for you. Sweet potatoes have a medium glycemic index. As a result, I would not encourage diabetics to consume large amounts in a single meal. According to Medical New Today, recent research suggests sweet potatoes may reduce episodes of low blood sugar and insulin resistance in people with diabetes. The fiber in sweet potatoes makes a big difference too. Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium sweet potato provides about 6 grams of fiber (skin on).

 

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 grams of fiber per day for women and 30-38 grams per day for men, which most people do not reach. Consult your nutritionist or healthcare provider about incorporating sweet potatoes into your diet while protecting your health. Boiling seems to be associated with lower glycemic index values than baking, frying or roasting.

OKINAWA PURPLE SWEET POTATO UNVEILED

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SWEET POTATO DEFINED

 

Sweet potato is one of our family’s favorite roots and with good reason. A sweet potato is essentially the fleshy tubers of some varieties of the ipomoea genus that we like to employ in the kitchen for their natural sweetness and their aid in good health. Most people may not recognize that sweet potato belongs to the most popular genus of the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae). This makes it a very useful and ornamental vine that’s guaranteed to reward you with delicious and healthy edible roots at the end of each planting season.

 

FUNNY ENCOUNTER WITH OKINAWAN SWEET POTATO

We found this beauty in an Asian market just up the street from our home. It seemed so deceptive and unassuming as we walked by the label that read “PURPLE YAMS”. This made no sense to me so I stopped to take a closer look as I passed by the isle a second time. Surely, my vision wasn’t deceiving me. They were white. I decided to do what seemed crazy at the time. I picked up an evidently white tuber and flicked a decent pinch off the skin with my fingernail. It turns out the label wasn’t posted in error. It was purple.

 

I quickly turned to my best friend – google for more information on these purple-fleshed, white-skinned roots I’d never met before. They seemed pretty interesting so I brought some home and baked them. We’ve been eating Okinawan sweet potatoes ever since. Over time, I’ve learnt the benefits of growing and using these purple sweet potatoes. They add such richness to our dishes and our garden and we’re happy to share them with you.

 

OKINAWAN SWEET POTATO PROPERTIES

Okinawan purple sweet potatoes are the thickest sweet potatoes I’ve ever had! Bear in mind that I do not make that statement lightly. After all, I did grow up eating tons of the Jamaican white sweet potato. Like the Jamaican, the texture and flavor of the Okinawan purple variety is far superior to the more common orange varieties readily available in U.S. markets. Their texture makes them ideal candidates for pastries, creams and punches. You’ve got to try making some sweet potato ice-cream with this jewel! There is none to compare.

 

Isn’t it amazing how one root could come in so many variations? How many have you experienced: purple, red, orange, pink, gold, and white-flesh tubers? The Okinawan purple sweet potato is an interesting variety. Thick, light-green vines produce heart-shaped, bright-green leaves with trumpet-like blooms of pink and violet popping up within the folds. The vines produce tubers that are generally much sweeter and firmer than any of the widely cultivated types on the global market. The thick, white skin gives way to tight, purple flesh that takes on a dark, midnight plum color when cooked.

 

USES

 

Speaking of cooking, perhaps one of the best properties of this purple sweet potato is that like the Jamaican variety, it has the ability to hold its’ form when cooked. It has a nice, firm, even texture when boiled or used in pudding and shakes. You’ll learn that this variety is best used in cooking methods that require added moisture. Try using it for cookies, pies and ice-cream! I’ve used it as a substitute for  the traditional Jamaican sweet potato pudding when there’s no Jamaican white or Japanese sweet potato at hand. This sweet potato makes excellent cookies, cakes, ice-cream, milkshake, punch, porridge, buns, and so much more! Seriously though, you’ve got to try the ice-cream!

 

Let’s not forget that the plant also has its’ host of uses. The sweet potato plant makes an elegant ornamental and it’s perfect for small space or short seasons. You can plant it in a hanging basket on your porch. You can even train your plants over a lattice, arch, gazebo, or swing in your garden or landscape. If you’re looking for elegant groundcover, you can plant it over that rocky bed, along your driveway or any awkward space in your home, school or office.

 

PLANTING SWEET POTATO

 

Be mindful that the sweet potato is a creeper vine so if it is potted, I’d suggest putting it in a large hanging basket. They require very little attention once the right conditions are provided. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that they love warmth. Sweet potatoes thrive in warmer regions. Just provide rich, breathable soil and irrigation. Be sure there’s allowance for water runoff. The roots do not like to be waterlogged as this may cause root rot.

 

Plant your sweet potato slips at least a foot apart and watch them dance into maturity. Here’s the best part! You can harvest your sweet potato in as little as three months! This makes it perfect for those of us who live in temperate regions with only a few months of warmer weather. You can add this sweet potato plant to your garden this season and enjoy all the benefits. Our honey bees find the flowers very attractive so if you’ve an apiary, its’ presence will only serve to aid your production. If your plants are producing a profusion of flowers it’s usually a good indicator that they’re mature. I like to harvest by hand and not with tools as that can damage the sweet potato tubers. You can protect your hands with gloves as you unearth your treasures.

 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF SWEET POTATO

 

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A. They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6, potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus. The antioxidant known as anthocyanin is the pigment which is responsible for the brilliant purple color of the flesh. It is the same pigment that gives blueberries, red grapes and red cabbage their color.

 

The Okinawan purple sweet potato actually has 150 percent more antioxidants than blueberries! What does all this mean for you really? You can boost your energy levels, skin health, and brain power just by eating sweet potatoes. The ipomoea tuber can also help in treating obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, colon and prostate cancer, infertility, constipation, inflammation and eye conditions.

 

SWEET POTATO & DIABETES

 

If you’re a diabetic, this bit is for you. Sweet potatoes have a medium glycemic index. As a result, I would not encourage diabetics to consume large amounts in a single meal. According to Medical New Today, recent research suggests sweet potatoes may reduce episodes of low blood sugar and insulin resistance in people with diabetes. The fiber in sweet potatoes makes a big difference too. Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium sweet potato provides about 6 grams of fiber (skin on).

 

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 grams of fiber per day for women and 30-38 grams per day for men, which most people do not reach. Consult your nutritionist or healthcare provider about incorporating sweet potatoes into your diet while protecting your health. Boiling seems to be associated with lower glycemic index values than baking, frying or roasting.

ABOUT THAT O’HENRY WHITE SWEET POTATO

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SWEET POTATO DEFINED

 

Sweet potato is one of our family’s favorite roots and with good reason. A sweet potato is essentially the fleshy tubers of some varieties of the ipomoea genus that we like to employ in the kitchen for their natural sweetness and their aid in good health. Most people may not recognize that sweet potato belongs to the most popular genus of the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae). This makes it a very useful and ornamental vine that’s guaranteed to reward you with delicious and healthy edible roots at the end of each planting season.

 

WHITE SWEET POTATO PROPERTIES

We’ve been growing this O’Henry variety year round for a while now and I’ve got to say, I don’t regret adding it to our list of favorites. It certainly adds its’ share of flavor to our table. The texture and flavor were superior to the more common orange varieties readily available in U.S. markets. In fact, the flavor is somewhat reminiscent of that sweet, creamy, even-textured Japanese sweet potato variety my family and I have come to appreciate so much.

 

Isn’t it amazing how one root could come in so many variations? How many have you experienced: purple, red, orange, pink, gold, and white-flesh tubers? The O’Henry sweet potato is an interesting variety. Thick, light-green vines produce heart-shaped, bright-green leaves with trumpet-like blooms of pink and violet popping up within the folds. The vines produce tubers that are generally much sweeter and firmer than some of the more popular and widely cultivated types on the global market. The thin, gold to tan-colored skin gives way to thick, white flesh that takes on a soft cream hue when cooked.

 

USES

 

Speaking of cooking, perhaps one of the best properties of this white sweet potato is that like the Jamaican variety, it has the ability to hold its’ form when cooked. It has a nice, firm, even texture when boiled or baked and makes amazing fries that our children just love. The O’Henry or Japanese sweet poatato varieties are both good substitutes for the traditional Jamaican sweet potato pudding for West Indians who’ve migrated. This sweet potato makes excellent cookies, cakes, ice-cream, milkshake, punch, porridge, bread, and so much more! The punch is one of my favorites!

 

Let’s not forget that the plant also has its’ host of uses. The sweet potato plant makes an elegant ornamental and it’s perfect for small space or short seasons. You can plant it in a hanging basket on your porch. You can even train your plants over a lattice, arch, gazebo, or swing in your garden or landscape. If you’re looking for elegant groundcover, you can plant it over that rocky bed, along your driveway or any awkward space in your home, school or office.

 

PLANTING SWEET POTATO

 

Be mindful that the sweet potato is a creeper vine so if it is potted, I’d suggest putting it in a large hanging basket. They require very little attention once the right conditions are provided. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that they love warmth. Sweet potatoes thrive in warmer regions. Just provide rich, breathable soil and irrigation. Be sure there’s allowance for water runoff. The roots do not like to be waterlogged as this may cause root rot.

 

Plant your sweet potato slips at least a foot apart and watch them dance into maturity. Here’s the best part! You can harvest your sweet potato in as little as three months! This makes it perfect for those of us who live in temperate regions with only a few months of warmer weather. You can add this sweet potato plant to your garden this season and enjoy all the benefits. Our honey bees find the flowers very attractive so if you’ve an apiary, its’ presence will only serve to aid your production. If your plants are producing a profusion of flowers it’s usually a good indicator that they’re mature. I like to harvest by hand and not with tools as that can damage the sweet potato tubers. You can protect your hands with gloves as you unearth your treasures.

 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF SWEET POTATO

 

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A. They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6, potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus. What does this mean for you really? You can boost your energy levels, skin health, and brain power just by eating sweet potatoes. The ipomoea tuber can also help in treating obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, colon and prostate cancer, infertility, constipation, inflammation and eye conditions.

 

SWEET POTATO & DIABETES

 

If you’re a diabetic, this bit is for you. Sweet potatoes have a medium glycemic index. As a result, I would not encourage diabetics to consume large amounts in a single meal. According to Medical New Today, recent research suggests sweet potatoes may reduce episodes of low blood sugar and insulin resistance in people with diabetes. The fiber in sweet potatoes makes a big difference too. Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium sweet potato provides about 6 grams of fiber (skin on).

 

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 grams of fiber per day for women and 30-38 grams per day for men, which most people do not reach. Consult your nutritionist or healthcare provider about incorporating sweet potatoes into your diet while protecting your health. Boiling seems to be associated with lower glycemic index values than baking, frying or roasting.

JAPANESE SWEET POTATO: TRUTH REVEALED

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SWEET POTATO DEFINED

 

Sweet potato is one of our family’s favorite roots and with good reason. A sweet potato is essentially the fleshy tubers of some varieties of the ipomoea genus that we like to employ in the kitchen for their natural sweetness and their aid in good health. Most people may not recognize that sweet potato belongs to the most popular genus of the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae). This makes it a very useful and ornamental vine that’s guaranteed to reward you with delicious and healthy edible roots at the end of each planting season.

 

JAPANESE SWEET POTATO PROPERTIES

I met the Japanese sweet potato in a farmer’s market upstate New York several years ago and brought some home. After cooking it for the first time, I decided I needed to have this plant in my life. The texture and flavor were superior to the more common orange varieties that were readily available in the markets. In fact, while it wasn’t as firm in texture it was reminiscent of the delicious Jamaican sweet potato variety I’d been raised on. We’ve been growing Japanese sweet potatoes ever since.

You’ll find that its’ properties are lauded and desired among ipomoea plants. Isn’t it amazing how one root could come in so many variations? How many have you experienced: purple, red, orange, pink, gold, and white-flesh tubers? The Japanese sweet potato is an interesting variety. Thick, light-green vines produce heart-shaped, dark-green leaves with trumpet-like blooms of pink and violet popping up within the folds. The vines produce tubers that are generally much sweeter and firmer than some of the more popular and widely cultivated types on the global market. The thin, maroon skin gives way to cream colored flesh that takes on a soft yellow hue when cooked.

 

USES

 

Speaking of cooking, perhaps one of the best properties of this Japanese sweet potato is that like the Jamaican variety, it has the ability to hold its’ form when cooked. It has a nice, firm, even texture when boiled or baked and makes amazing fries that our children just love. It’s a good substitute for the traditional Jamaican sweet potato pudding for West Indians who’ve migrated. It makes excellent cookies, cakes, ice-cream, milkshake, punch, porridge, bread, and so much more!

 

Let’s not forget that the plant also has its’ host of uses. The Japanese sweet potato makes an elegant ornamental and it’s perfect for small space or short seasons. You can plant it in a hanging basket on your porch. You can even train your plants over a lattice, arch, gazebo, or swing in your garden or landscape. If you’re looking for elegant groundcover, you can plant it over that rocky bed, along your driveway or any awkward space in your home, school or office.

 

PLANTING SWEET POTATO

 

Be mindful that the sweet potato is a creeper vine so if it is potted, I’d suggest putting it in a large hanging basket. They require very little attention once the right conditions are provided. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that they love warmth. Sweet potatoes thrive in warmer regions. Just provide rich, breathable soil and irrigation. Be sure there’s allowance for water runoff. The roots do not like to be waterlogged as this may cause root rot.

 

Plant your sweet potato slips at least a foot apart and watch them dance into maturity. Here’s the best part! You can harvest your sweet potato in as little as three months! This makes it perfect for those of us who live in temperate regions with only a few months of warmer weather. You can add this sweet potato plant to your garden this season and enjoy all the benefits. Our honey bees find the flowers very attractive so if you’ve an apiary, its’ presence will only serve to aid your production. If your plants are producing a profusion of flowers it’s usually a good indicator that they’re mature. I like to harvest by hand and not with tools as that can damage the sweet potato tubers. You can protect your hands with gloves as you unearth your treasures.

 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF SWEET POTATO

 

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A. They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6, potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus. What does this mean for you really? You can boost your energy levels, skin health, and brain power just by eating sweet potatoes. The ipomoea tuber can also help in treating obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, colon and prostate cancer, infertility, constipation, inflammation and eye conditions.

 

SWEET POTATO & DIABETES

 

If you’re a diabetic, this bit is for you. Sweet potatoes have a medium glycemic index. As a result, I would not encourage diabetics to consume large amounts in a single meal. According to Medical New Today, recent research suggests sweet potatoes may reduce episodes of low blood sugar and insulin resistance in people with diabetes. The fiber in sweet potatoes makes a big difference too. Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium sweet potato provides about 6 grams of fiber (skin on).

 

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 grams of fiber per day for women and 30-38 grams per day for men, which most people do not reach. Consult your nutritionist or healthcare provider about incorporating sweet potatoes into your diet while protecting your health. Boiling seems to be associated with lower glycemic index values than baking, frying or roasting.

THE TRUTH ABOUT JAMAICA’S SWEET POTATO

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SWEET POTATO DEFINED

 

Sweet potato is one of our family’s favorite roots and with good reason. A sweet potato is essentially the fleshy tubers of some varieties of the ipomoea genus that we like to employ in the kitchen for their natural sweetness and their aid in good health. Most people may not recognize that sweet potato belongs to the most popular genus of the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae). This makes it a very useful and ornamental vine that’s guaranteed to reward you with delicious and healthy edible roots at the end of each planting season.

 

JAMAICA & SWEET POTATO

The scientific name for the Jamaican sweet potato variety remains inconclusive. However, its’ properties are lauded and desired among ipomoea plants. These tubers were such a big part in my life growing up and I wouldn’t trade them in for anything. While we owned and operated a commercial sweet potato farm, my deep appreciation for this plant did not emerge primarily from that experience.

 

Our home was one of many rooted in one of the steepest hills off the coast of Trelawny. It had a breathtaking view of the valley and the ocean beyond but it also had some sloping paths. We planted the Jamaican sweet potato in our home and watched them make excellent groundcover, holding precious earth together and winning the fight against soil erosion. They’d put out gorgeous pink morning glory blooms with hearts of violet and shower us with some massive tubers for our table. We’d harvest, replant the slips and rinse and repeat over and over again.

 

JAMAICAN SWEET POTATO PROPERTIES

Isn’t it amazing how one root could come in so many variations? How many have you experienced: purple, red, orange, pink, gold, and white-flesh tubers? The Jamaican sweet potato is an interesting variety. Thick, light-green vines produce heart-shaped, dark-green leaves with trumpet-like blooms of pink and violet popping up within the folds. The vines produce tubers that are generally much larger than some of the more popular and widely cultivated types on the global market. The thin, maroon skin gives way to white flesh that takes on a cream hue when cooked.

 

SWEET POTATO USES

 

Speaking of cooking, perhaps one of the best properties of this Jamaican variety is its’ ability to hold its’ form when cooked. It has a nice, firm, even texture when boiled or baked and makes amazing fries that our children just love! It’s also the main ingredient in the traditional Jamaican sweet potato pudding recipe that tourists can’t get enough of. It makes excellent cookies, cakes, ice-cream, milkshake, punch, porridge, bread, and so much more!

 

Let’s not forget that the plant also has its’ host of uses. The Jamaican sweet potato makes an elegant ornamental and it’s perfect for small space or short seasons. You can plant it in a hanging basket on your porch. You can even train your plants over a lattice, arch, gazebo, or swing in your garden or landscape. If you’re looking for elegant groundcover, you can plant it over that rocky bed, along your driveway or any awkward space in your home, school or office.

 

PLANTING SWEET POTATO

 

Be mindful that the sweet potato is a creeper vine so if it is potted, I’d suggest putting it in a large hanging basket. They require very little attention once the right conditions are provided. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that they love warmth. Sweet potatoes thrive in warmer regions. Just provide rich, breathable soil and irrigation. Be sure there’s allowance for water runoff. The roots do not like to be waterlogged as this may cause root rot.

 

Plant your sweet potato slips at least a foot apart and watch them dance into maturity. Here’s the best part! You can harvest your sweet potato in as little as three months! This makes it perfect for those of us who live in temperate regions with only a few months of warmer weather. You can add this sweet potato plant to your garden this season and enjoy all the benefits. Our honey bees find the flowers very attractive so if you’ve an apiary, its’ presence will only serve to aid your production. If your plants are producing a profusion of flowers it’s usually a good indicator that they’re mature. I like to harvest by hand and not with tools as that can damage the sweet potato tubers. You can protect your hands with gloves as you unearth your treasures.

 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF SWEET POTATO

 

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A. They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6, potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus. What does this mean for you really? You can boost your energy levels, skin health, and brain power just by eating sweet potatoes. The ipomoea tuber can also help in treating obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, colon and prostate cancer, infertility, constipation, inflammation and eye conditions.

 

SWEET POTATO & DIABETES

 

If you’re a diabetic, this bit is for you. Sweet potatoes have a medium glycemic index. As a result, I would not encourage diabetics to consume large amounts in a single meal. According to Medical New Today, recent research suggests sweet potatoes may reduce episodes of low blood sugar and insulin resistance in people with diabetes. The fiber in sweet potatoes makes a big difference too. Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium sweet potato provides about 6 grams of fiber (skin on).

 

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 grams of fiber per day for women and 30-38 grams per day for men, which most people do not reach. Consult your nutritionist or healthcare provider about incorporating sweet potatoes into your diet while protecting your health. Boiling seems to be associated with lower glycemic index values than baking, frying or roasting.

POWERFUL JAMAICAN GINGER – ZINGIBER

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You haven’t really had a good cup of ginger tea until you’ve had one made with Jamaican ginger. I grew up on the stuff and I’ve got to tell you, it’s far more potent than any others I’ve had. Why is that? I’m not quite sure where to place the credit but I’m elated to share more about it with you.

HISTORY

The part of the plant we use and incorrectly label “ginger root” (if we’re being really technical) is the rhizome of some variety of the zingiber plant. For the purposes of this article, I will be using the term “ginger root” since it is what most of us are familiar with and I have no intention of complicating your comprehension of this wonderful plant when we leave here today.

There is a book by one of my favorite writers of works I believe every West Indian child should have. It’s called The Cloud with the Silver Lining by C. Everard Palmer. His books paint the most vivid recollections of the colorful and flavorful Jamaican culture, usually through the eyes of a local child as the rhythms of the people erupt from the pages. The Jamaican ginger plays a critical role in this particular book. It relates how traditionally, the Jamaican ginger wasn’t a plant cultivated in or near places inhabited. Young boys would look forward to harvesting their ginger in the mountains and forests before Christmastime. This would be used for treats like cakes, candy, ice-cream, juices and so much more. In more recent years, this zingiber is grown closer to home and cultivated on a much larger scale as the demand is very high among the locals, despite the fact that local markets offer other imported varieties. There is a reason for that.

GROWTH CYCLE

It’s a terrific plant that serves culinary, cosmetic and ornamental purposes. The ginger plant erupts from the soil in single stems that grow to an average of three feet. The slender, green leaves release the pleasant ginger aroma when crushed or sprayed with rain. The leave and stems can also be steeped in hot water to make teas and refreshing drinks. When the roots are mature, the gorgeous inflorescence rises from the ground – not from the stems – and can possess an array of colors including cream, peach, yellow, orange, pink, red, or pomegranate. If you live in colder areas where frost is expected, your ginger stems will die back at the end of the season and you can harvest your roots but store a few in an old newspaper for planting next season.

PLANTING & CARE

Plant your ginger in a partially shaded area with filtered or indirect sunlight and away from strong winds. You can plant it in your garden, landscape or in a pot. I’ve harvested ginger from my pots in a New York apartment several times over and you can too. It’s a really easy plant to grow. It is very important that the ginger is planted in breathable earth. If your soil is heavy and rich that has its’ benefits but it isn’t good enough. Mix in some sand, peanut shells, and sawdust for better breathability. Do not overwater and try to allow the soil to dry out a little between watering.

USES & BENEFITS

Ginger has been used for centuries for its’ culinary and its’ medicinal purposes. It adds flavor unmatched to juices, teas, stews, sauces, soups, ice-cream, pastries, sweets and more. It can be powdered or dried and stored for longer periods as well. Ginger oil is extracted not only for culinary use but also for topical application in massages and treatment of burns, bites other sources of skin irritation. Yet, there is still so much more to appreciate about this ginger thing.

The Jamaican ginger is a good source of an array of antioxidants and nutrients like B-Complex Vitamins, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Iron, and Zinc. These help to relieve digestive problems including nausea, loss of appetite, compromised respiratory function, bacterial infections, fungal infections, ulcers, motion sickness and pain and has been used in the treatment of morning sickness and cancer. The Jamaican ginger can also help decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality. It encourages healthy, supple skin, mouth and hair and boosts your energy levels!

This ginger promotes sweating as it is a diuretic so if you live in an icebox this is a great way to warm the body from the inside out. Moreover, it is an excellent way to treat cold and flu symptoms. In our article – Winter is Coming – we highlight some of the ways ginger can be used to arm yourself and your loved ones against the onslaught of bugs and illnesses that are likely to attack during colder seasons.

Let’s not forget that the Jamaican ginger is also pleasantly fragrant and can be used in aroma therapy. Ginger oil is one of my favorite recommendations for massages and skin treatments. My beloved grandmother has been living with arthritis for years. A good massage of problem areas with some ginger oil provides soothing relief of pain and discomfort and is appealing to the senses in the same breath. Best of all, there is no research to suggest that there are health risks to using this ginger in any way so your inclusion of the Jamaican ginger in your lifestyle can be worry-free… so go on, get to know the Jamaican zingiber and have fun with it!