Chinese Purple Yams range in size and are oblong to round in shape, averaging 10-15 centimeters in diameter depending on the variety. These tubers are easily identified by their vibrant, ink-colored skin, and they may have a smooth to russeted texture, a somewhat uniform to indented profile, and have shallow to medium-set eyes scattered across the surface. The starchy flesh ranges from a deep, saturated, solid purple, to purple with white striations, to a white and violet marbled appearance. When cooked, Chinese Purple Yams are dense with a pronounced earthy, sweet, and nutty flavor.
Chinese Purple Yams are an excellent source of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and the antioxidant, anthocyanin, which has been studied as an immune system booster.
Chinese Purple Yams are best suited for cooked applications such as roasting, boiling, baking, braising, mashing, grilling, and frying. Chinese Purple Yams are popularly used in soups, gnocchi, and can be boiled and served with salmon, eggs, and green beans in a Nicoise salad. They can also be sliced into fries or chips and mashed to make vibrant violet side dishes. Chinese Purple Yams can also be boiled, smashed, baked, and served with cr?me Fraiche, dips, cashew sauce, or tomato-based sauces. Chinese Purple Yams pair well with savory herbs and garlic, red meats such as pork and poultry, both rich and mild cheeses, other starchy vegetables such as corn and shelled beans, artichokes, and salad greens. Chinese Purple Yams will keep for one to two weeks when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place.