Mikaila & the love of sweet potato


Mikaila Palmer
Member since: 2015

My favourite thing about the garden:
is the community around it.  My second favorite thing is walking through the garden when it’s empty and quietly observing what’s growing, then looking up and seeing the beautiful harbour. Bliss.

My favourite veggie in the garden:
is the sweet potato, which I asked MBCG to plant a couple of years ago, after reading a book on Asian greens when I was studying to be a chef. I love that the group is open to trying new crops, and find the garden an inspiring place to be involved in.

Sweet potatoes are totally delicious, versatile and have more nutrients than regular potatoes – they’ve been called superfoods for a while now. They are intensely sweet, so dishes either take advantage of this (e.g. in brownie recipes), or have an element to balance the sweetness – such as baking wedges with smoky paprika and serving with sour cream; including them in a tagine, with Moroccan spices and preserved lemon for balance; matched with a salty cheese like halloumi in a salad. Sweet potatoes are one of the veggies you’re likely to see in the wonky veggie section at Harris Farm and I always buy them from there if available. I loved their individual shapes and sizes – they look real, like they haven’t been standardised, like so many products we buy now.

The leaves are what I was most interested in a couple of years ago – they are less known, but superstars in their own right. They have 3 times more vitamin B6, 5 times more vitamin C, and almost 10 times more riboflavin than the potato, and can be cooked much like you would spinach . They have lower levels of oxalic acid than spinach, so the flavour is a little less sharp. They’re also not readily available in the area, so were a great product to get access to via the garden.