Ube: All over it or never heard of it?
If you're a food fanatic or Pinterest person, you've likely seen vibrant purple desserts popping up across your feeds. If you didn't read the caption, you probably assumed it was purple food coloring and kept scrolling, but let me clue you in... that vibrant shade did not come from a tube.
No ma'am/sir. It came from an ube.
The ube yam, also known as "purple yam" or "greater yam" (but not to be confused with the purple potato), is a species of yam from the Asian tropics that naturally develops a bright lavender hue. Though its use has been embraced by Asian countries for quite some time, ube is finally starting to gain momentum in the United States as a healthy, au naturale replacement for dye to create an insane color burst in a variety of desserts.
Here's a few reasons why we're all over it (and why you ought to be too):
#1. Ube is a naturally-occurring purple veggie. It provides a deep, mesmerizingly-beautiful color to foods without any purple food coloring or dye. So the next time you attempt to "rainbow" anything, ube is on your side. (Seriously, though, why can't more veggies came in a shade of Lisa Frank purple?!)
#2. Ube yams are nutritious and naturally sweet. Think of them as a purple sweet potato (which is essentially what they are). If you're wondering why they're primarily showing up in desserts--think ube ice cream, cake, cookies, cupcakes, pies, truffles, and more--now you've got your answer. Not only are they're packed with fiber and full of essential vitamins and minerals, but, because of their natural sweetness, they can be used to cut back on added sugar in baked goods.
#3. They're better than sweet potatoes. According to a Kansas State University study, ube yams contain powerful antioxidants that haven't been found in regular sweet potatoes. Just another reason to trade your typical sweet taters for these purple gems (look for them at you local Asian market).
#4. Ube yams will definitely liven up traditional sweet potato recipes this fall. Think of the possibilities . . . sweet potato pie anybody? Just picture that on your Turkey Day table.
#5. The color purple is apparently a sign of wisdom, dignity, creativity, mystery, and magic. I, for one, don't need any more convincing than that. You are what you eat, after all.
Are you on the ube train yet? Keep scrolling to get some more inspiration, or click here for my favorite recipes using sweet potatoes and try swapping in purple yams. Of course, if all else fails, you can always go down a Pinterest rabbit hole to get your purple fill.