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Thread: purple sweet potatoes

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Austin, TX
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    purple sweet potatoes

    Hello everyone,

    After reading Mark's article here about sweet potatoes:

    The Difference Between Yams and Sweet Potatoes | Mark's Daily Apple

    I decided to try and find some purple sweet potatoes. There are only 3 stores in my area (Austin, TX) I know of that carry them (2 Asian supermarkets and a regional chain that competes with Whole Foods). I keep running into two problems:

    1. There is no consistent and/or precise naming scheme for purple sweet potatoes. I have seen the following labels at different times at different stores:

    - purple sweet potato
    - purple yam
    - Okinawan purple sweet potato
    - Stokes' purple sweet potato

    2. I have purchased purple sweet potatoes from each of the 3 stores sold under each of the labels above, and all of them have been very dry and bland-tasting, just as Mark described in the article:


    "Thereís another variety that looks extremely similar but has a lightly violet interior streaked with white. Itís starchier and far drier than the Okinawans, and it doesnít taste nearly as good."

    Clearly the ones I bought that were labeled "Okinawan purple sweet potato" were mislabeled.

    Has anyone been able to find the purple sweet potatoes that Mark describes in the article:

    "They are white skinned with a deep, brilliant purple interior that becomes velvety smooth and incredibly sweet when baked."

    If so, is there anything in particular about the name of the potato or source? If so, then I could ask a produce manager to order the specific variety of purple sweet potato described in that article. Otherwise I don't think I will keep eating the dry, bland tasting ones I keep ending up with.

  2. #2
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    Bump - someone else out there has to eat purple sweet potatoes. Has anyone been able to find the ones Mark described in that article? I've only been able to find the "imposters".

  3. #3
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    I get some great purple sweet potatoes from the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op. Couple of varieties. Not sure what they are called. I also love the nearly white Asian sweet potatoes, partly because they are almost like Irish ones, which I also eat some of. I realize this isn't much help. LOL
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  4. #4
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    I get Okinawan's (light colored skin) from the Asian market.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kitoi View Post
    I get Okinawan's (light colored skin) from the Asian market.
    Which of the two varieties described in Mark's article are you able to find:

    "They are white skinned with a deep, brilliant purple interior that becomes velvety smooth and incredibly sweet when baked."

    OR

    "There’s another variety that looks extremely similar but has a lightly violet interior streaked with white. It’s starchier and far drier than the Okinawans, and it doesn’t taste nearly as good."

    Every purple sweet potato I've bought has been in the second group.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Special K View Post
    Which of the two varieties described in Mark's article are you able to find:

    "They are white skinned with a deep, brilliant purple interior that becomes velvety smooth and incredibly sweet when baked."

    OR

    "Thereís another variety that looks extremely similar but has a lightly violet interior streaked with white. Itís starchier and far drier than the Okinawans, and it doesnít taste nearly as good."

    Every purple sweet potato I've bought has been in the second group.
    The 1st group, sweet and creamy smooth. Have also had the 2nd which was a lot drier and not as sweet.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kitoi View Post
    I get Okinawan's (light colored skin) from the Asian market.
    Quote Originally Posted by kitoi View Post
    The 1st group, sweet and creamy smooth. Have also had the 2nd which was a lot drier and not as sweet.
    Are you able to buy the sweet/creamy ones year round? I'm starting to think this is a seasonal thing.

    FWIW, I was able to get a produce manager to order some of the Stokes purple sweet potatoes. Apparently one of their distributors still has them in stock from last season. They aren't sweet/creamy, but they are better than the other dry ones I found.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Special K View Post
    Are you able to buy the sweet/creamy ones year round? I'm starting to think this is a seasonal thing.

    FWIW, I was able to get a produce manager to order some of the Stokes purple sweet potatoes. Apparently one of their distributors still has them in stock from last season. They aren't sweet/creamy, but they are better than the other dry ones I found.
    Seems like the sweeter ones are available spring/summer/fall, winter tend to be drier. Maybe due to being older?

  9. #9
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    I eat all different varietals of purple sweet potatoes. To be honest, I've never been able to remember which ones are which. I just get whichever ones I find at the store and hope for the best. The Okinawan ones are my favorite though - I slice them with a mandolin and bake them in the oven until toasty brown. They taste like toast to me!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Special K View Post
    Has anyone been able to find the purple sweet potatoes that Mark describes in the article:

    "They are white skinned with a deep, brilliant purple interior that becomes velvety smooth and incredibly sweet when baked."

    If so, is there anything in particular about the name of the potato or source? If so, then I could ask a produce manager to order the specific variety of purple sweet potato described in that article. Otherwise I don't think I will keep eating the dry, bland tasting ones I keep ending up with.
    Yes, the one time I bought a purple sweet potato from the Asian grocery store in my neighborhood, it was as Mark described. It was super sweet and syrupy, and I guess you could describe it as velvety smooth (it doesn't have the stringy fibers that regular sweet potatoes do). I actually didn't like it because I felt that it was way too sweet. Unfortunately, I can't remember exactly what it was called. I think it was simply purple sweet potato or maybe purple yam. I don't think it had a special name. There was no place of origin attached to it either.

    Sorry, this isn't very helpful, but the type of purple sweet potato Mark described does exist. I'll take a picture of one the next time I go to the Asian grocery store. It might be a few days before I go there again so check back on this thread if you want to see the pic!

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