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Purple Okinawa Sweet Potatoes

Ipomoea batatas cv. Ayamurasaki

The Japanese island of Okinawa is famous for the longevity of its inhabitants. One of their traditional foods is a native sweet potato with a deep violet center. The color of the Okinawan sweet potatoes is due to anthocyanins which act as antioxidants in the body and are supposed to have a multitude of health benefits. These sweet potatoes are avidly sought by practitioners of Calorie Restriction who are interested in longevity and optimum nutrition.

The Okinawa purple sweet potato was introduced to Hawaii and is occasionally found in the mainland, mainly in Asian markets. The potatoes take a deep purple color when cooked. They have a slightly sweet, starchy taste.
Baked Salmon with Okinawa sweet potatoes

The baked salmon illustrated here was prepared by basting with lemon juice, and sprinkling salt, pepper, and fresh dill. It was baked at 350°F for 20 minutes. The sweet potatoes were cut into 1-inch cubes and steamed for approximately 15 minutes until they were fork-tender. Slices of tomato and avocado were used as garnish.
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