( Photo by The Packer staff )

Ube. Ube. Ube.

That purple-fleshed sweet potato (pronounced OO-beh) — which is actually a yam — is taking the trendy dessert world by storm.
Ube ice cream. Ube cheesecake. Ube doughnuts. Ube whatever-thingamajig-whatchyamacallit. 

It’s not even a sweet potato! It’s a true yam. What’s the difference anyway? The Packer’s designer and copy chief Amelia Freidline explains in a Feb. 1 column, “for the most part, what’s sold in the produce department (or in the canned vegetables aisle) as a ‘yam’ is actually a sweet potato,” she said.

Well, there are two other purple hued (real) sweet potatoes hanging around if you want to take an ube break, said Frieda’s Inc., Los Alamitos, Calif.

“Our Stokes Purple sweet potatoes remain high in quality and rich in flavor, especially over other varieties on the market,” said Allen Demo, Frieda’s director of procurement and sourcing.

Then there’s the okinawa, a Japanese variety. 

Consumers want more variety, and this is it. 

These royal tubers all owe their indigo beauty to anthocyanins, which provide the pigment, as well as possibly preventative properties for some colerectal cancers and alcoholic liver damage, according to the Molecular Nutrition and Food Research journal and the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 


So ... have a purple sweet potato with your beer(s). Just don’t call that ube a sweet potato.

Amy Sowder is The Packer’s Northeast editor. E-mail her at [email protected].