Would this work for curing sweetpotatoes?

Slimy_Okra(2b)August 29, 2013

I have a broken fridge. It's out of coolant, so it just runs a bit warmer than room temperature. I thought I could store the harvested sweet potatoes in there, and maybe insert a large (50 W) heating mat at the bottom to bump temps. up to the recommended 85 degrees. The SPs themselves should contribute to bumping up the humidity inside the fridge.

What do you think?

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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I put them in my car in the hot sun for a few days.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 6:39AM
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I'd be concerned about lack of airflow. Maybe you could have the heat mat on but the door open, but that seems pretty wasteful with energy.

This year I'm going to simply keep them in milk crates in the basement for a couple months for curing. They do cure even if temps do not get high as long as night-time is not too cool, so a dry basement (or house) that is between 60-70 all the time will eventually cure them.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 7:09AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

We never cure our sweet potatoes and we usually use them all up by mid March, or earlier. We dig them and put them in boxex or crates and put them in the basement. We also dig and sell most of ours the same week. If they don't sell, they get some time to cure in the basement too.

When I read about curing, it usually says to heal over cuts and scrapes. We dig all our by hand so we rarely, if ever, have any scrape or cuts.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 2:53PM
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As I said, they cure over time regardless, if they don't get too cold and have some air, otherwise they get the fungus. Sometimes when I eat one right after digging it isn't sweet - exposure to warm air sweetens them.

Some soils are light and warm enough to cure them in the ground, sandy soil in the deep south as an example.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 4:00PM
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But the real question is: Slimy, did you get a tuber crop in the Yukon, or wherever you are? holy cow.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 4:23PM
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Thanks everyone. I guess I will just cure them on the upper floor of my home (basement is around 55 degrees).
Glib, I'm in Saskatchewan :). Our absolute lows in winter are not much warmer than in the Yukon, but we have warmer summers and a somewhat longer growing season. Actually, we're going through an unusual late summer heatwave with highs in the mid- 80s for at least 10 days now. I haven't checked all the SPs yet but one of the plants I checked has a tuber the size of a smallish grocery store carrot. So, pretty small but there's still a month left before I dig them. I'll even be happy if they're all carrot-sized.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 11:31PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

I think your idea for the fridge will work fine. I've done it in a small closet with a heater and some moist towels and cured 3-4 hundred pounds like that. If I remember right, I left them in there for a week and the flavor was radically different after curing. The sugar levels jumped and the skins became much less likely to scuff. They held all winter long with very little rot.
If you're worried about lack of air flow, just open the door briefly a few times a day.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 12:36AM
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