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Thread: Boniato - Perfect Primal Tuber? page

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    OnTheBayou's Avatar
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    A bony what?


    Bone-ee-AH-toe, I presume. It's a white fleshed sweet potato that isn't sweet. Same morning glory family as the beloved orange sweet potato. It's from the Caribbean and is grown around Miami, Florida.


    As I type this, I'm indulging in boniato chips!


    I like sweet potatoes as much as the next Grokster, I've even grown them. But they have an over powering flavor that limits their uses. And I'm not fond of the large sugar load, and that sugar makes them really hard to fry up in any way. Enter, the boniato.


    I've seen them for several years in the grocery store and finally decided to see what they are. A quick trip to Google convinced me to buy one, $1.39/lb. I boiled it and then thick sliced some and fried alongside my bacon. Yum! The flavor is similar to a sweet potato without, oddly enough, the sweetness.


    The next morning I took the remainder, chopped a bit, added onions and peppers, and voila!, low glycemic index hash browns! Wow, almost like potato ones!


    Burp! Just finished the chips. Took a raw boniato, peeled, and sliced it with my plantain slicer, dropping the discs right into the hot lard. They behave like real potatoes, not the sweet type. Bubbled briskly and when they got very slightly tan and firm to the slotted spoon's touch, they went into the strainer. Salt. Feel no guilt as you eat them!


    My last experiment will be boniato under spaghetti sauce. (Technically Sicilian Putanesca, "The little streetwalker." Spicy hot and with capers. Yum.) They should be lower in carbs and GI than the spaghetti squash I used the other night.


    So, how does the boniato stack up in carbs or glycemic index/load? Info is hard to come by, but I found one page in Spanish that put the GI as "Medio," at 50. The problem is that "sweet potato" and "boniato" can be used someone interchangeably. Without getting fixated on the numbers, it seems to me that having less sugar and being of firmer flesh than the orange cousin, the boniato should be of lower glycemic index and load.


    I know that most Groksters won't be able to find the boniato outside of the SE. I suggest stores where there is a Caribbean community, or maybe just asking your produce manager if he can get some.


    I think I'll pull those sweet potatoes and plant some boniatos!


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    NorthernMonkeyGirl's Avatar
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    Ahhhh interesting!

    I got these by mistake once - I wanted the orange fleshed ones and got the "wrong" version - white flesh and an almost purple tinged skin.

    I found it noticeably less sweet, but didn't like it because I was expecting / wanting the sweetness of the orange version!

    Hmm, I may try this one again, can you get it to a pasta-like shape for sauces or do you just have it in chunks / strips?


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    OnTheBayou's Avatar
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    I'll just cut it up. The form won't matter.


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    @ NorthernMonkey--If its anything texture-wise like potatoes or winter squash, you could totally cut it in a spiral slicer to make noodles.


    OTB--I want to come and eat at your house! The lard sizzling, all these creative boniato uses--my mouth is watering! I'm totally buying some if/when I find them!!


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    Mirrorball's Avatar
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    They aren't sweet at all or only less sweet than the orange-fleshed ones? I ask because the sweet potatoes I buy are all white-fleshed, the skin is either white or purple and the taste is sweet.

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    Mirrorball, the ones I had were sweet-ish, I just remember the taste not "working" because I'd got the wrong one.

    Probably sweeter than your standard potato, and could well taste sweeter to me now I'm primal.


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    Very interesting. Never heard of boniatos before. I agree, sweet potatoes while tasty, can have an over-powering flavor sometimes. I've never come across this tuber in the grocery stores here though.


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    OnTheBayou's Avatar
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    Since I can't find nutrional data on the boniato specifically, my subjective experience is that it is a lot less sweet than the orange sweet potato.


    That is backed up by the fact that frying them doesn't result in the carmelization of the sugars in the regular potato. Until I can find data, I would think of them as not having sugar, hence no sweetness.


    Mirrorball, if your "sweet potatoes" are white fleshed, they are not standard ones, smooth outer skin and orange flesh. I would suspect boniatos, rough slightly purple skin.


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    I googled for boniato nutrition info:

    http://www.produceoasis.com/Items_fo...s/Boniato.html

    And here is sweet potato for comparison:

    http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2667/2


    According to those, sweet potato would have less carbs per gram of total weight, but I'm not sure how dense boniato is. If it's lighter, then maybe it has fewer carbs for the same volume.


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    OnTheBayou's Avatar
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    Here's a decent link about all of the sweet potato and yam versions, with pictures and comments on cooking: http://kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com/2008/01/food-experiments-meet-yam-man.html


    And here's some patent info on using sweet potatoes, yams, and boniatos to make flour! http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/5244689/description.html


    Within, "It has now been found that a flour from white sweet potatoes that is useful in the production of many food products can be made. Moreover the flour can be used in every way wheat flour is used, although the processes are totally different.


    Because sweet potatoes are frequently well-tolerated by people with multiple food allergies, and would be a highly nutritious, hypoallergenic food stuff, the applicant carefully investigated sweet potatoes and found one variety of white sweet potato, the camote or boniato, whose properties seemed to be significantly different from the others. This sweet potato is about equal in length to the orange varieties, but is 3-4 times greater in diameter. The outside flesh is reddish-purple and tough. The inside flesh is creamy white and very hard. Although it tastes like a sweet potato, after cooking the flesh does not fall apart as the orange varieties do. This variety is not well known in the US where it is used primarily by people from Central and South America in the traditional ways of their homelands. In these countries the fresh tuber is used in almost any way a fresh orange sweet potato or white potato is used--baked, fried, boiled, mashed. "


    I see references that boniato is a low fiber food scattered about the intertubes, so I guess it probably is.


    This might be a decent nutrient profile for boniato: http://www.fitday.com/fitness/FoodVi...dds2-f71941120 True to Fitday's inexplicable database, this is the "Puerto Rican Sweet Potato", yet they don't have the orange sweet potato! But over on www.nutritiondata.com they don't have boniato, but they have the orange! Anyway, the boniato shows about half the carbs and less than half the calories, which would make sense if it had a lot less sugar.


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