It’s a real thing… Also known as the Okinawan Sweet Potato!
Gifted with the deep hue of Royalty and the luxurious flavor of a familiar family favorite; This tuber is meant to be eaten eyes first. Delicious and nutritionally packed with vitamins and minerals that do the body a world of good; I cannot exaggerate the importance of working this ingredient into your weekly “mise en place”.
According to www.downtoearth.org , This Lavender-Tinted Root is,
“high in vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese. They are also a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. Sweet potatoes are known to improve blood sugar regulation and some studies have discovered significant antibacterial and antifungal properties. The primary nutritional benefit, and the one for which Okinawan sweet potatoes are especially prized, is their high antioxidant levels.4 The antioxidant known as anthocyanin is the pigment which is responsible for the brilliant purple color of the flesh. It is the same pigment that gives blueberries, red grapes and red cabbage their color.5
Blueberries are well known for their high antioxidant levels, however, the Okinawan sweet potato actually has 150 percent more antioxidants than blueberries.6 Antioxidants help to guard against cardiovascular disease and cancer.”
Also, in a medicinal regard to this ingredient, studies have been done hoping to prove the curative properties of the Purple Sweet Potato and it’s high levels of Anthocyanin, the pigments responsible for the coloring of the tuber. On www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov there are reports documenting how Purple Sweet Potatoes have been tested for it’s possible preventative effect on acute and subacute alcoholic liver damage…
I mean… Why wouldn’t you, at this point?
This past spring, I purchased starter plants of several varieties of sweet potatoes just before my garden was planted. Reading about how “tropical” the plants were tickled my curiosities and I wanted to see how these potatoes would fare in my soils, sewn along the N. 45th parallel, (Northern Wisconsin). The many different sweet “potato” varieties are all Dicots (watch the video…) and belong to the Morning Glory family, Convolvulaceae; primarily a group of vining, herbaceous, colorful plants with decorative flowers… With this information, you can conclude that sweet potatoes are basically a traditional potatoes 5th cousin… thrice removed. I knew the basics on cultivating yukons, and I merely applied the same logic; Buried them in mounds. all of my sweet potatoes turned out Glorious!
I choose to roast the roots, coated in olive oil and seasoned generously with salt. I roasted as opposed to blanched the tubers to maintain the integrity of color in the flesh, blanching typically leaches the color out of foods.
I applied a cross between my Gnocchi recipe and my Recipe for “Boho” Potato Dumplings. The outcome was somewhere between a firm Gnocchi dough and a light German dumpling. The flavor was sweet, remarkably rich, both sweet and savory; there was a subtle bit of earth. I rolled the dumplings, as I would Gnocchi then ran the pieces over a textured board.
The pieces then began to resemble a cavatelli. It was amusing to see such a vibrant color painting my work surface. Same technique with a shade of excitement.
Of Course, once finished a blanch and a shock was in order, which dimmed the color considerably;
I paired the Sweet Potato dumplings with a Braised Pork Cheek & Goat Cheese Ragout. A sear on the dumplings and finishing the dish with just a hint of the indigo water from the blanching pot, and I was pleasantly surprised with the color on the end product.
The use of the Vibrant tubers didn’t miss a beat. It was scrumptious from first sight to last bite!
The endless Pastabilities…