The Scoop on Purple Potatoes

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

Sweet potatoes are so very versatile, and a staple in many people’s diets. They are also a holiday favorite and can be seen on dinner tables everywhere on Thanksgiving as well as on Christmas; but there is a new sweet potato in town aiming to steal the throne away from its orange cousin. The Okinawan sweet potato, or purple sweet potato, is a tuber that originated in the Americas. It was brought to Japan between 1400 and 1600, and is named after the city of Okinawa, Japan. (It is VERY popular there!) It then made its way to Hawaii and has become a favorite add-in in Hawaiian cuisine.


(“BlauerSchwede02” by Paebi – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –


This pretty purple potato has a sweet taste just like the sweet potatoes we are used to, and can even be served with cinnamon on top in the regular fashion. On the outside, the potato looks like any other potato, but when you cut it in half, you get a fun purple surprise! And along with a pretty surprise and a great taste comes nutrition!

Just like the sweet potatoes we usually keep in the house, the Okinawan sweet potato is full of both vitamin A and C. It is also packed with important nutrients like iron, copper, and potassium. Along with many vitamins and minerals, these purple potatoes are packing something else, too: Antioxidants! Antioxidants are what give the potato its purple color, just like they give blueberries and pomegranates their color. Okinawan sweet potatoes even have MORE antioxidants than blueberries!

If you are questioning how to prepare purple sweet potatoes, there is no need to worry! They can be cooked just like normal potatoes and sweet potatoes, and are delicious mashed as a side dish to any meal. They can also be boiled, roasted, or prepared like a baked potato.

Purple sweet potatoes are an excellent way to add more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to your diet! Right now Fill Your Plate doesn’t have any recipes including purple sweet potatoes, but if you have any you’d like to share feel free to leave them in the comments, we’d love to try them! In the meantime, here are some recipes from a few different websites to help start your love of purple sweet potatoes!

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