It's the season for naming "[insert thing] of the year" — people, colors, words, and now, a vegetable. A panel of food experts — organized by the nonprofit that hosts the annual Veganuary initiative, which challenges people to give veganism a try for the month of January — has determined that the veggie to watch in 2024 is the purple sweet potato.
The first-ever vegetable of the year was chosen by a group of leaders in the grocery retail, nutrition, and sustainability spaces, as well as chef and cookbook author Daniela Lais, founder and president of the climate-conscious food security nonprofit Support + Feed Maggie Baird (who also happens to be Billie Eilish's mom), and none other than TikTok's favorite vegan, actor Tabitha Brown. According to the official Veganuary press release provided to Daily Meal, public interest in purple sweet potatoes has been on the rise over the past few months, due in part to the release of the Netflix documentary "Secrets of the Blue Zones," which features the violet veggie and discusses its reputation as a "longevity superfood." The main reason is its high content of the antioxidant anthocyanin, vitamins A, C, and B6, potassium, and fiber.
As part of the campaign, Veganuary will collaborate with several influencers (yet to be disclosed) to post recipes and other content involving the purple sweet potato. So, if the colorful starch is all over your "For You" page in the coming weeks, that's probably why.
Delicious, Nutritious, And Violaceous
Part of the veggie's growing hype can, of course, be attributed to its deep purple tone, a color we don't often see in foods, let alone healthy ones (sorry, purple Nerds) — it's the same reason we all went nuts a few years ago for anything made with highly photogenic butterfly pea flower. But it's not all appearances: Veganuary emphasizes the starch's rich vitamin and mineral content and other health-related properties. Studies have demonstrated links between the purple tuber and lowered blood pressure, reduced inflammatory markers, and possibly inhibited growth of colon and bladder cancers.
From a culinary standpoint, purple sweet potatoes are highly versatile, so expect to see them in any dish generally made with regular orange sweet potatoes, from basic baked or mashed potatoes to pies and tarts. But don't take it from us — your favorite food influencers will probably be posting their own recipes soon enough.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.