It turns out these are not easy to come by. I finally found them at Berkeley Bowl, selling for almost three times as much per pound as every other variety. But, I reason, I buy less than a pound at a time and I NEVER waste them. No, I devour them. They are the sweetest sweet potato I've ever tasted. They tend to be a bit drier and starchier than other varieties, but that just means I add a little extra butter and milk. Truth be told, most of the time I don't bother to mash or butter. I roast them in the pan with chicken, so they get lightly coated with the drippings, and become so sweet and tender that they practically melt in my mouth.
|Mashed, with skin on.|
Add these Okinawa sweet potatoes to a laundry list of purple foods I've been eating lately. Tomatoes. Radishes. Cherries. Plums. Bell peppers at the farmers' market when I lived in the Midwest. Asparagus comes in purple too, but I was sorely disappointed to discover that it releases its color and turns green when steamed. Ugh, what a waste.
Purple is so unexpected in the realm of food. It feels somehow extra-special, powerful, surreal, as if any food that accumulates such an intense pigment has to be other-worldly and somehow magical. Not sure I'll develop X-ray vision or superhuman strength any time soon, but I will have fun trying.