This is a rewrite, from memory, of a lost blog post that I wrote in 2008 about my sweet potato curing rig.
This was my sweet potato curing rig from a few years ago. It worked well, the sweet potatoes tasted like they should taste and they kept in my kitchen, in a dark cabinet, for almost two years. The last few sweet potatoes from this harvest (2008) ended up in my little sweet potato rooting experiment shown at http://donnayoung.org/blog/life/garden/rooting-sweet-potatoes/
The basics behind this rig are the things that you will want to achieve and they are:
- A source of warmth that is not too hot.
- An airy enclosure
That’s about it.
Source of warmth: I used an old space heater. To make sure the inside of the curing rig didn’t get too hot, I placed a thermometer inside the box and checked it periodically throughout the first day. Based on the temperature, I adjusted the space heater to maintain a temperature of around 85 degrees or a little higher.
An airy enclosure: As you can see, I used a large box. I layered the potatoes by placing large sheets of paper between each layer. It was all very loose. Before I put the sweet potatoes into the box, I cut 3 or 4 1-inch round holes in the bottom of the back of the box. At the front of the box, I cut the opening that would allow the warm air to enter the box. The cut for this warm air was the shape of a capital I so that it would have a flap on each side to better contain the air flow.
I placed the heater at what I hoped would be a safe distance and set two large cookie sheets on either side and a piece of wood (that I had laying around) on top for a lid. The top of the box was closed and I laid a towel over it.
The sweet potatoes stayed in this box for 10 days after which I removed them and stored them somewhere else. I do not have a proper storage area, so I placed them somewhere handy, in a kitchen cabinet.
Some of the follow up questions that were in the old blog post:
Do sweet potatoes really need to be cured?
Answer – yes.
How do I know when to pick my sweet potatoes.
Answer – dig them up shortly before your first hard frost. If the plants die from frost, dig them up that very day. This answer is not a thorough guideline for when to dig up the sweet potatoes, google the question for more details.