Without question, one of my favorite local Hawaiian foods is the Purple Sweet Potato. Mild in flavor, this fabulous food is can be prepared in numerous ways and is a daily staple in my household.  Purple hashbrowns, purple mashed potatoes with coconut milk, braised purple potatoes, purple potato samosas… There is a seemingly unending list of things that you can create with the excellent mild flavor that seems to blend well with both sweet and savory seasonings.

The Purple Sweet Potato, actually called an Okinawakan Sweet Potato (although originating in the Americas) is not truly a potato, but in fact a relative of the Morning Glory. In addition to being a culinary treat, purple sweet potatoes are excellent for your health. Extremely high in antioxidants, Vitamins A, B6  and C and a good source of potassium, copper and fiber.

Recent scientific study shows that the chemical that makes the potato purple is part of what makes it so good for us.

Lim said purple sweet potatoes have high contents of anthocyanin, which is a pigment that presents the purple color in the vegetable. The pigment can produce red, blue and purple colors depending on the source’s chemical structure, such as in foods like blueberries, red grapes and red cabbage.

She said anthocyanins have been epidemiologically associated with a reduced cancer risk, but the anti-cancer ability of the purple sweet potato has not been well investigated.

(…)Cyanidin and peonidin showed significant cell growth inhibition for the cancer cells, but there were no significant changes in the cell cycle. Lim said a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms in the Kansas-bred potato could provide scientific evidence of its health benefits.

Source: Science Daily Article Link

 

 

More info on the Purple Sweet Potato here

And some great recipes here