I love potatoes. Sliced, diced, in soup, baked, twice baked—really any way I can get them in my stomach. My favorite method is slicing them into thin strips, throwing them in the oven, sprinkling them with salt and piling them high onto a plate for dinner.

Erin O'Neill

So when I heard about Japanese sweet potatoes, I knew I needed to taste test them.

I was surprised by their purple color, but don't let that turn you off, these nutrient-dense and sweet Japanese yams are a perfectly filling, energy-boosting addition to any meal.

Taste

Erin O'Neill

The taste—I'm not kidding—is like cake. Japanese sweet potatoes are denser and starchier than regular sweet potatoes, and offer a unique flavor and texture slightly drier and sweeter than their cousin potatoes. I guarantee 10/10 taste testers would recommend them for anyone with a sweet tooth (and a carb craving). 

But if you want to eat actual cake, made from Japanese sweet potatoes, check this out. 

Nutrition

A Japanese sweet potato is about 113 calories per 130g potato. Obviously it's mostly carbs, but the potato offers a great source of vitamins A, B6, C, fiber, potassium and antioxidants. I find them more filling than regular Idaho potatoes.

And don't skip out on the skin, it is the most nutritionally dense part of the potato. Plus when baked, it offers an awesome crunchy contrast.  

Why can't I find them in Giant (and other grocery stores)?!

Erin O'Neill

Unfortunately, you won't be able to find these next to the orange sweet potatoes in a local supermarket. They are only available in Japanese/Asian markets.

But awesome news for Penn State students; State College caters an incredible diversity of foods. With this, there are a number of Asian markets that offer this vegetable. I visited Far Corners Asian Market at 1012 W. College Avenue where the potatoes are priced at $1.79/lb.

Other State College markets offering Japanese sweet potatoes include Golden Dragon Market at 202 E Calder Way, The International Market at 328 S Allen Street and East Asian Market at 215 Blue Course Drive.

Cooking Methods

Erin O'Neill

Baked 

Preheat your oven to 400°F and spray a cooking sheet with cooking spray. Prick the potato all over with a fork and place on cooking sheet. Bake for about one hour, until insides are soft, then split open and top with some salt and butter if you want.

Let cool and then dig in!

Fries

Preheat your oven to 400°F and spray a cooking sheet with cooking spray. Slice potatoes in thin strips (the thinner you cut them the shorter cook time they require).

Place potato fries on cooking sheet, spray cooking spray over them, and sprinkle with salt. Cook for about 30 minutes, flipping the fries halfway through. Let cool and enjoy!

Those are my two favorite ways to cook Japanese sweet potatoes, but there are plenty other ways of preparing them to include in your meals! Even if you live in a dorm, you can prick them with a fork and throw them in the microwave to cook them. Potatoes are so versatile and this Asian variety is great for a plethora of recipes

Trust me, purple never tasted so good.