The Origin Of Purple Sweet Potato 2024

Purple Sweet Potatoes are a common component of many traditional cold-weather cuisines. You may roast a potato and eat it straight, bake it into a family-favorite casserole for a holiday meal, or stir it into a savoury stew to satisfy a hungry throng on game day. Look around the next time you are at the market purchasing sweet potatoes to see if you can identify anything a bit different.

In the unlikely event that you come across a purple sweet potato, it’s most likely an Okinawan or a Stokes Purple®. It might possibly be an Ube, which is pronounced OO-beh. However, that is a yam and not a sweet potato. Anthocyanin, a kind of flavonoid (a class of chemicals having antioxidant benefits) that gives many plants, including strawberries, cherries, and grapes, their natural red, purple, and blue colouring, is abundant in purple sweet potatoes.

Purple Sweet Potato

Purple Sweet Potatoes

The sweet potato known as Stokes Purple® is native to North Carolina. A woman who wishes to remain anonymous gave some purple-colored potatoes as a gift to sweet potato farmer Mike Sizemore. His fondness for them led him to start growing them, secure a patent, and introduce them to the market for profit in 2006.

It was in Central and South America that the Okinawan sweet potato first appeared. It is said that in the fifteenth century, travellers brought them to China and the Philippines. Later, in the sixteenth century, the potato reached Japan. They were first grown on Okinawa, Japan’s southern island, but quickly spread throughout the country. These purple potatoes eventually made their way to Hawaii, where they are now referred to as “Hawaiian sweet potatoes” and are served on the local menu. They are now extensively farmed in Hawaii and shipped to the US mainland.

Nutritional Powerhouse

Antioxidants in Okinawan sweet potatoes are reportedly 150 percent more than those in blueberries. Antioxidants protect the body from cancer and cardiovascular disease. They also contain vitamin B6, iron, potassium, dietary fibre, and two times your daily value of vitamin A and half your daily value of vitamin C.

While purple potatoes are a veritable gold mine of nutrients that fight disease, their potent antioxidant content is the real health asset. This content has been related to lowering inflammation, which in turn helps to improve blood pressure, heart health in general, and may even slow the growth of some cancer cells.

In the autumn and winter, look for the Okinawan sweet potato at your local grocery shop. The tubular Okinawan sweet potato has violet-purple flesh and a buff or light brown skin, in contrast to its darker-skinned relative. Orange sweet potato dishes work well with this tuber because of its creamy texture and somewhat sweet flavour.

Use a Purple Sweet Potato

The purple-tinted Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes, which have a thicker, drier texture and a better-balanced sweetness than their orange counterparts, are available from late August through late spring. The secret to getting the most flavour and colour out of a Stokes Purple® sweet potato is to bake it at a moderate temperature for a longer period of time—about 90 to 120 minutes at 350 degrees—until it becomes pleasantly moist.

Our recipe for purple sweet potato pie has a creamier, more subdued filling because Stokes Purple® potatoes are a little starchier and less sweet than conventional sweet potatoes.

Additional info

Purple sweet potatoes, also known as purple yams or Okinawan sweet potatoes, are a type of root vegetable celebrated for their striking violet flesh and sweet flavor. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, purple sweet potatoes offer numerous health benefits. Explore delicious recipes and learn how to incorporate these colorful tubers into your diet for a nutritious and visually appealing culinary experience.

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