by Evan Brady
Throughout my culinary career, a large focus of cooking is to make the food look beautiful as well as taste delicious. We focus on natural, vibrant, and bright colors that really show off the inherent traits of the food that is being served and it also goes a long way in proving the food is fresh and not expired. This process initially is what sparked my interest in the Okinawan sweet potato. Not only is it delicious with a sweet, fruity flavor, but it is bright purple in color.
For decades the Okinawan sweet potato has been a staple in the diets of diabetics everywhere due to it’s low glycemic index. This scale is a measure of how quickly your blood sugar level rise after eating a particular food. Okinawan sweet potatoes have 150% more antioxidants than blueberries and are high in beta-carotene and vitamin A which can help strengthen your immune system, preserve eyesight, and combat infections.
In 2010, Dr. Oz stated that the Okinawan sweet potato is number 5 on his Top 10 Super Foods List. The primary reason for this ranking is because of their extremely high antioxidant levels. The Antioxidant anthocyanin is the pigment responsible for the brilliant purple color of the flesh. This is the same pigment that gives blueberries, red grapes, red cabbage, beets and plums their color. Antioxidants help guard against cardiovascular disease and cancer.
With all the healthy mumbo jumbo aside, your next question is probably: “These sound awesome, but what do I do with them?” Okinawan sweet potatoes are generally always roasted and if you boil or steam them, they will bleed out that great purple color (with a good portion of the antioxidants). After roasting, they can be used to make mash, stuffed whole, or a purée. They can even be peeled before roasting and cut into bite sized pieces.
- PubMed: Antioxidative activity of anthocyanins from purple sweet potato
- “5 Superfoods to eat now.” 10 2 2010. The Dr. Oz Show. 4 Nov 2011
- Smith, S.E. “What are Okinawan Sweet Potatoes?” 18 July 2011. Wise Geek. 4 November 2011
Evan is highly trained in the classics with a degree from the Culinary Institute of America in New York and specializes in modern technique. He was previously the Chef de Partie at the Lincoln Ristorante in New York City with notable staging experience at Eleven Madison Park, Atera, and Maialino. Evan is the Executive Chef at Savory Celebration.