Purple sweet potatoes are a type that has a light purple skin and a deep purple flesh. They have a taste very similar to the more common orange sweet potatoes but are generally believed to have more potent antioxidant properties. Generally a little harder to find than other types of sweet potatoes, purple sweet potatoes can be prepared in a number of different ways.
When most people think of a sweet potato, they imagine an orange-tinted tuber. Consequently, many people are taken aback when they first see the vibrant violet hue that is characteristic of purple sweet potatoes. This tuber, sometimes known as the Asian sweet potato, comes in a number of varieties, including Japanese, Korean, and Molokai. Traditionally available primarily through Asian markets, these sweet potatoes have become an increasingly popular crop for farmers in the U.S. Consequently, they are more readily available in mainstream supermarkets and produce stores than they once were.
The primary difference between orange and purple potatoes is the nutritional content. While the orange variety is notoriously high in beta carotene, the purple type are better known for their cancer-fighting antioxidant potential. Anthocyanin, the pigment that gives purple sweet potatoes their exotic color, also produces their potent antioxidant activity. This beneficial quality is actually enhanced by cooking the potatoes, making them a sought-after ally by many in the fight against cancer.
People very often confuse sweet potatoes with yams, using the terms interchangeably. The same is true for purple sweet potatoes due to the fact that there is also a purple variety of yam. While yams are usually bigger, sweeter, and moister than the average sweet potato, the primary distinguishing factor is the skin. The color of a sweet potato’s skin generally matches the color of the flesh, while the color of a yam’s skin will not. For instance, purple potatoes have skins that are light purple in color, which matches the vivid color inside, while a purple yam has a brown or tan skin, giving no clue as to the violet-colored flesh beneath.
With a slightly sweet and mildly nutty flavor, people use purple sweet potatoes as a tasty, healthy accompaniment to many meals, often in place of regular potatoes. Cooks roast them with butter and sugar to enhance their sweetness or bake and serve them with any number of toppings. Some people prefer to boil the potatoes and mash them for a colorful side dish that is sure to please. A variety of interesting recipes for these tasty tubers can easily be found on the Internet.