If you’re a spud lover but stopped eating potatoes due to their reputation of causing weight gain, you may be in luck. Studies show it could be the potato you choose in addition to how the potato is prepared that make a difference. What about french fries? Well, those fries are six times more likely to cause weight gain if enjoyed too often, and besides, the super high temperatures they’re cooked at cause the loss of any possible nutrients, so why bother? (1) And if you think adding all those delicious fatty toppings is the way to go, think again. Instead, opt for purple potatoes.
Purple potatoes are high-antioxidant foods that are eye-catching since the skin and the flesh are both purple, making them a beautiful adornment to any plate. But it’s not just the color that’s appealing. Purple potatoes offer a host of awesome benefits from working as a healthy food-coloring agent to helping regulate blood pressure to aiding athletic performance and more.
History of Purple Potatoes
The history of the purple potato goes back to what’s known as the purple Peruvian, which is an heirloom fingerling potato. Potatoes, in addition to tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, are part of the Solanaceae or nightshade vegetables family. The purple or blue violet potato fits into what has been called vitelotte, though not necessarily violet in color. This violet or purple potato may have been noted as early as 1817, listed as available at the market of Les Halles.
Information published in 1863 listed five possible colors for the vitelotte, which were white, yellow, pink, red and violet. In 1873, Alexandre Dumas, a French author, wrote in his Grand dictionnaire de cuisine that “… the best of all are unquestionably the violet [ones], preferable even to the red [ones], [and] known in Paris by the name of Vitelottes.” (10, 11)
The purple potato comes with special names, such as purple majesty, purple viking and purple Peruvian, and is usually available all year long. These golf ball-sized potatoes are popular in South America, originating in Peru and Bolivia, and they can reach a slightly larger size if allowed to reach full maturity. They have a nutty, earthy flavor and are perfect as a side dish for most anything. (12)
While all potatoes, including the purple potato, blue potato, white potato, yellow potato and sweet potato, are high in carbohydrates, they contain useful fiber, vitamins and minerals. But the most nutrient-dense versions are those with the colorful flesh.
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