Guide to Hawaiian sweet potato, delicious recipes and health benefits

Guide to Hawaiian sweet potato, delicious recipes and health benefits

Purple sweet potatoes are fantastic to put into your diet and so tasty, healthy and filled with so many vitamins and minerals. Popular to eat around the islands, you can easily find sweet purple potatoes or more common Okinawan sweet potatoes at farmers markets, specialty food stores, roadside stands and even grocery stores around the islands. Used as a supplement and typical side dish, this nutritious food is used for both savory and sweet dishes around the islands and worth finding on the menu or making your own dish with the recipe samples below that are easy to follow and make.

HIstory of Hawaiian sweet purple potato

Hawaiian sweet potato or Uala or Uwala in Hawaiian is one of the essential canoe plants that were brought from the various Polynesian islands to Hawaii. The sweet potato were important canoe plants the early settlers to brought with them to Hawaii to grow and harvest quickly and supplement their meals with nutritious food to feed the settlers. Sweet Hawaiian potatoes were a large part of their daily diet on the islands, unfortunately the original sweet potato plants are not grown commercially anymore on the islands on a large scare. This has been replaced with the more popular to grow Okinawan sweet potato variety which is typically grown and sold all around the islands.

Guide to Hawaiian sweet potato, delicious recipes and health benefits

Purple sweet potato is also called a variety of other names

Hawaiian sweet potato

Okinawan sweet potato

Purple yam


Purple sweet potato is also called a variety of other names

What is purple sweet potato?

Prized for its purple flesh, this potato is typically white skin colored with the beautiful purple colored flesh unlike the sweet red potato with white flesh. The purple sweet is just slightly sweeter tasting but much dryer and starchier which requires more time to cook. The typical sweet purple potato in Hawaii is called Okinawan sweet potato that is cultivated in Japan and eventually made it to the islands. There is another unique Molokai sweet potato that is cultivated specifically in Molokai and developed in 1978 with purple skin.

Interesting fact: Hawaiian Sweet Potato is not part of the potato family. It is part of the morning glory family.

What is purple sweet potato?

What are the health benefits to eating purple sweet potato

High in fibre and antioxidants and also considered a superfood, purple sweet potato contains beta -carotene, vitamin C and potassium, anthocyain with dementia reducing antioxidants, anti-aging agents, maintaining brain health and reduces heart disease.

The skin is also full of nutrients and vitamins and is also edible. Anthocyain is what makes the sweet potato is famous purple color.

What is purple sweet potato?

Grow your own Hawaiian sweet potato

Growing Hawaiian sweet potato is relatively easy and carefree once you have the area and soil conditions set up which requires full sun and well drained soil. You can easily just buy a sweet potato at the local market and cut them up into two to three inch sections and place them in a cool area to sprout on their own and eventually plant them in the ground and spaced out in the garden. Although you can plant year round, spring is usually the best time when the winter rains have subsided. It takes about 4 to 6 months for the tubers to grow into a sizeable shape to harvest. You can tell when harvesting is ideal when the vines start to turn yellow and you can dig up the tubers.

Grow your own Hawaiian sweet potato

How to cook with Purple sweet potato

Purple sweet potatoes can be cooked in the same fashion as yams and white potatoes but it takes a little longer to cook because of the dry flesh. You can steam, boil, roast and then mash, saute or create into casserole dishes as a main ingredient.

How to cook with Purple sweet potato

Mashed purple sweet potato

Bring a pot of water to boil with the sweet potato until soft and take out of the water and mash together like a regular potato

Steam purple sweet potato

A popular method to steam the potato with the skin on for a bout half an hour until the flesh is easy to poke and soft. You can eat the potato hot and fresh or used as an ingredient

Roasting purple sweet potato

Coat the skin with some olive oil and salt and roast for about 45 minutes and split open and eat or use as an ingredient.

Delicious recipes to try with your purple sweet potato

Delicious recipes to try with your purple sweet potato

You definitely can steam, boil or roast your sweet potato easily and serve but if you want to take it up a notch and create some sensational foods using sweet potatoes, why not try these recipes.

Check out these fabulous and easy to follow recipes below with the key ingredient using sweet potatoes.

Purple Sweet Potato Fries

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Potato Manju Recipe

Hawaiian Sweet Potato Mochi

Okinawan Sweet Potato Haupia Pie

Sweet Potato Pudding

Check out these other Hawaii Inspired foods and recipes

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Conclusion on Hawaiian sweet potato

If you found some other delicious sweet potato recipes to try from this post, please share your experiences in the comments below for everyone to enjoy. Or even if you have any questions about visiting, I would be more than happy to answer them below.

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  1. Joy

    Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • emorata

      Thanks for visiting and hope you enjoyed the post on Hawaiian sweet potato and found some of the recipes worthwhile


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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.