What does it really mean to “cure” a sweet potato? The process of curing not only extends the shelf life of a sweet potato by sealing in moisture, but also enhances its flavor. Curing activates enzymes that sweeten the potato, called maltose sugars, which provide a richer, more fragrant flavor.
The process of curing typically takes up to ten days, and helps heal any damage done to the sweet potato during harvest. It’s a long, extra step, but this helps us get the most out of our Jersey Fresh sweets. It’s important to the process of curing to never wash off dirt before the curing begins, as rinsing will cause them to spoil if not immediately eaten.
Curing potatoes requires a warm and humid environment to dry and to heal—typically at a temperature between 80 and 85 degrees with a humidity level of 80-90%.
And after those ten days are up, our sweets are ready for storing. The process of storing requires six to eight weeks to steep sugar production in our already-cured potatoes. This will help lengthen shelf life and provide an even richer flavor in the end.
Storing sweets in a cool, dark, and dry environment will ensure they’re at peak-sweetness for when you go to cook with them in the kitchen. And if storing conditions are invariable, these sweets can stay safely stored for up to six months! That’s surely more than winter bargained for.
At Muzzarelli Farms, we cure our sweet potatoes for maximum storage life and sweetness. Find them at our market at 3460 Oak Road in Vineland, NJ, or feel free to call at 856.691.2497.