If your Instagram feed is as filled with food as mine is, you might have noticed the latest purple trend. Sweets of all shapes and kinds seem to be cropping up in a purple haze. Although it seems like the baking world decided to simultaneously pay tribute to Prince by vibrantly dying their favorite baked goods, there's actually more to it than that.

The craze is because of a Filipino ingredient that has taken the US by storm, ube. I was intrigued by this seemingly magical, naturally purple veggie, especially when I learned about it's cronut-like ability to get people to wait in line for hours. So I did some investigating to find out what makes ube so special.

What Is Ube?

Ube (pronounced ooo-bae) is, indeed, the new bae of the food trend world. Before it became a staple on Instagram, the purple yam was a staple in Filipino and Asian cooking. Although it only recently began cropping up in specialty shops across the US, ube is an everyday ingredient in the Philippines.

It's similar to the classic sweet potato, but is more likely to be used in sweet dishes. A common dish is ube halaya, which is a jam made with ube and sweetened condensed milk. It can also be used as a topping for halo halo, which is made with shaved ice and evaporated milk.

What Does It Taste Like?

The purple yam is often blended into sweet desserts like ice cream and cake, so it's distinct flavor is not always highlighted. On it's own, it's said to have floral notes and be slightly sweet. Technically, it's a tuber just like a potato or a sweet potato, yet it seems to blend into sweets more seamlessly than other edible tubers. 

Why Is It So Trendy?

Ube dyes your food a vivid purple shade, and it's au naturel. Although it's not a new ingredient, it seems to have been newly discovered by Instagram pros. Its pleasing purple shade makes it an obvious choice for the food trend community.

It becomes even more pleasing when everyone's favorite desserts (think ice cream and doughnuts) are suddenly just as pretty to look at as they are delicious to eat. The hashtag #ube has more than 159,000 posts on Instagram, and everyone seems to be enamored by it. It seems like the combination of it's natural beauty and foreign flavors have made it the hottest new thing. 

If you want in on the trend, you can attempt to incorporate ube into your next dessert. If you're not so culinarily inclined, then try and find the best bakery in your town and hope they're up on the latest trends.