Purple Yam Ube Milk Tea – Why Our Customers Love it
When it comes to ideas for tasty drinks, purple yam may not be the first desirable ingredient that comes to mind.
However, there’s a lot more than meets the eye with these root veggies!
Not just another pretty purple face, purple yam has multiple health benefits on top of a sweet and enticing nutty flavour.
So, what are purple yams, what are their benefits, where can you get your hands on a delicious purple yam beverage and, most importantly, what makes them purple in the first place!
If you’re looking for answers to all these questions, you’ve come to the right place!
What is a Purple Yam?
Purple yams go by many names, including purple sweet potato, ube and its scientific name, Dioscorea alata. It is a starchy tuberous root vegetable with brown to greyish skin with a light to deep purple colour. Hence the name!
While its exact origins are unknown, it is commonly believed to come from the islands of Indonesia in Southeast Asia. Purple yam is also an indigenous staple of the Philippines. It can also be found in Malaysia, Brazil, and Caribbean regions such as Venezuela and Colombia.
In North America, while you may be able to find ube in some organic stores, your best bet for finding purple sweet potatoes is at an Asian grocery store.
Purple yam has a distinct sweet and nutty flavour. Professional and at-home chefs alike incorporate purple yam ube into several sweet and savoury recipes, including mashed purple sweet potatoes, purple yam jam, purple sweet potato buns and even ube ice cream and cupcakes!
Personally, among our favourite recipes at Baroness Bubble Tea is our Purple Yam + Organic Milk Tea with delicious brown sugar.
On top of being a delicious treat, purple sweet potatoes also have multiple health benefits!
What Makes Them Purple?
The distinct purple hue found in purple sweet potatoes is thanks to water-soluble pigments known as anthocyanin.
Anthocyanin is found in many different fruits and vegetables, including blueberries, raspberries, grapes, black soybeans, red cabbage and, of course, purple yams!
These anthocyanins can change these food items’ colours based on various external factors, such as soil pH, light exposure, temperature and structure.
In more acidic conditions, anthocyanins will appear red. However, they’ll turn blue when the pH increases. Purple sweet potatoes thus possess a beautiful purple-red colour.
Benefits of Purple Yam and Purple Yam Milk Tea
Now that we’ve provided some insight into the international backstory of purple yams, what gives them their signature hue, and how it contributes to our story at Baroness Bubble Tea, let us tell you why it’s one of our favourite ingredients to use in our drink recipe!
As we said above, in addition to providing a delightfully sweet and nutty flavour, purple yams are also full of several properties and components that are great for your health to help you feel good from the inside out!
Below are just a few examples of purple yam benefits.
They're Highly Nutritious
Like we said before, ube is a starchy root vegetable. Since it’s high in starch, it is an excellent source of carbohydrates. It’s also a great source of potassium and vitamin C.
One cup (100 grams) of cooked purple sweet potatoes contains the following nutritional profile:
- Calories: 140
- Carbs: 27 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0.1 grams
- Fibre: 4 grams
- Sodium: 0.83% of the daily value
- Potassium: 13.5% of the daily value
- Calcium: 2% of the daily value
- Iron: 4% of the daily value
- Vitamin C: 40% of the daily value
- Vitamin A: 4% of the daily value
They're Rich in Antioxidants
On top of giving them their vibrant signature purple colouring, anthocyanins are also incredibly rich antioxidants. Couple that with high concentrations of vitamin C, and purple yam is an antioxidant powerhouse!
For those who may not know, antioxidants serve to protect your body’s cells from being damaged.
What’s more, vitamin C also contributes to keeping cells healthy and increasing iron absorption.
They Can Help with Digestion
Purple yams are a fantastic source of fibre. They also contain pectin, a type of starch known as heteropolysaccharide, commonly present in the cell walls of fruits and vegetables to provide their structure.
Fibre is a crucial component for ensuring that the digestive tract works as smoothly as possible.
On the other hand, pectin serves as a prebiotic, meaning it feeds your gut with good bacteria, promotes healthy growth of good bacteria, decreases inflammation, and protects it against gastrointestinal issues.
They May Help Manage Blood Sugar
As we previously outlined, the anthocyanins present in purple sweet potatoes can help protect our bodies against type 2 diabetes.
According to a test-tube study surrounding the flavonoids of purple yam extracts, they were shown to minimize oxidative stress and insulin resistance by protecting the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
Another study showed that, when administering purple yam extract to 20 rats, it lowered their appetites, promoted weight loss, and improved blood sugar control.
One of the reasons behind this evidence is that the carbs in purple sweet potatoes are broken down into sugars relatively slowly, meaning that there is a steadier release of energy over time instead of a surge in blood sugar.
They're Incredibly Versatile
Make no mistake about it. Purple yam is no one-trick pony!
One of the best things about this vegetable is that it can be used as an ingredient in several different recipes, including stews, soups, stir-fries, ground into a powder for baking, and more!
Whether they’re baked, boiled, mashed, or fried, one of their most appealing features is just how versatile they are.
So, if you do choose to pick them up and indulge in their delicious flavour, just think of all the different possibilities!
Purple Yam vs Taro Root
While our primary focus of today’s article surrounds purple yam, we should clarify that it should not be confused with a similar root vegetable also native to Southeast Asia – taro root.
While it shares a similar shape to purple yam, taro’s appearance and taste are quite different. Upon opening the root, unlike the deep purple of ube, taro instead has a pale white hue with purple specks throughout.
In terms of flavour, ube is sweeter, while taro has an earthy flavour with just a mild hint of sweetness.
If you’re curious about observing and experiencing the contrasts firsthand, visit Baroness Bubble Tea and indulge in our Taro + Organic Milk or Taro + Oat Milk drinks and taste the difference for yourself!
Purple Yam - Packed with Delicious Flavour!
Who knew that a root vegetable could taste so good! With the enticing appearance and taste of ube, you’ll never again be reluctant to get your daily intake of veggies.
With its eye-catching looks and sensationally sublime substance, it truly is the whole package!
To build on purple yam’s colourful story, we have created a drink that we think beautifully combines its unique background with our ever-evolving story to create one of our most popular drinks at Baroness Bubble Tea.
Made freshly in-house every day, our Purple Yam + Organic Milk drink is as beautiful as it is delicious! Try it with our signature homemade brown sugar pearls for a heightened level of sweetness.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of indulging in the rich, delectable flavour of purple yam, we’d love to make your first experience as positive as possible! We encourage you to visit us at Baroness Bubble Tea at 2790 W Broadway, Vancouver, and try some out for yourself!
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