Three kinds of kumara from Jan Bilton
There’s a brand new kumara in town – and it’s skin and flesh is purple. This very different variety bred by Plant & Food New Zealand is ‘Purple Dawn’ and I’m impressed with it.
Purple Dawn (sometimes called blue kumara) has a dense flesh and isn’t as sweet as orange kumara but it has great flavour and the purple deepens once cooked. With such amazing colour it adds real excitement to shepherds’ pies and rosti, and it’s also terrific roasted. It certainly caused friends to comment when they were served my ‘Blue Soup’.
All kumara not only taste great but they are packed with more vitamins C and E (antioxidants) than potatoes, pasta and rice. They are a very good source of fibre and potassium, are virtually fat-free and low in sodium. But Purple Dawn — because of it’s rich colour— must also be high in anthocyanins which research has associated with helping to protect against myriad diseaeses including cancer. It’s so new that the nutritional analysis is still being undertaken.
Kumara has been changing its image for centuries ever since arriving in New Zealand in the 10th century. The earliest kumara were small tubers — a bigger ‘sweet potato’ was introduced later. It is this creamy-fleshed variety with its purple skin that became the common kumara we enjoy today. And now we have a rainbow of orange, gold and purple fleshed kumara to enhance our everyday menus.
Super served with a little sour cream or yoghurt on top. Get the recipe
The orange kumara look colourful and are quite moist but any variety could be used. Get the recipe