This vegetable with its distinctive color is bursting with flavor and loaded with nutrients. Although it is neither from Okinawa* nor related to the potato, it is known by this name and is quite striking with its purple color.
It belongs to the morning glory family and its homeland is South America. It was brought to Japan in the 17th century and, thanks to its abundant crops, was loved in Japanese cuisine in a short time, after which it became known as Okinawan sweet potato. Later, it was brought to the Hawaiian Islands by the Polynesians and again managed to become one of the staple foods of the island residents by growing with high yields in richly mineralized volcanic soils. This potato is also known as the Hawaiian sweet potato.
Okinawan sweet potato takes its place among the superfoods and is considered to be one of the secrets of the longevity and vigor of Okinawans who easily pass the age of 100. Like other sweet potatoes, it is rich in vitamins A, C and manganese, as well as vitamin B6, copper, fiber, potassium and iron. Although it is known to regulate blood sugar, have antibacterial and antifungal properties, it contains 150% more antioxidants than blueberries, which are known as a high antioxidant source. It tastes reminiscent of roasted chestnuts.
It is often confused with stokes and Charleston sweet potatoes, other types of purple-meat sweet potatoes consumed in America today. Ube is similar to sweet potato (purple yam), but ube is not available fresh in America. The main usage area of ube, which is frozen or in powder form, is ice cream and desserts.
Here is the recipe:
- 2 lb Okinawan sweet potato
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Rosemary (dry or fresh)
Wash potatoes and cut into finger-thick cubes without peeling the skin. Mix them with olive oil and rosemary in a deep bowl. Then lay them on parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes in an oven preheated at 400 F (200 C).
* Okinawa Island is the largest and most densely populated island in the Okinawa Archipelago, in Japan.