Purple Potatoes Nutrition Facts - Everything You Need to Know

The purple potatoes’ nutrition has captivated the attention of many enthusiasts of the versatile tuber. But what is so special about it? Why have so many people been enchanted by the hypnotic hue that shrouds these almost mystical tubers?

As you might have guessed, that purple color does much more than make a potato look pretty. It is the key to an abundance of nutrients such as the unparalleled anthocyanins antioxidants that can stave off inflammation, heart disease, and other ailments. Moreover, they are host to a wide array of vitamins and minerals conducive to healthy blood pressure levels and a strong immune system.

Aside from the great concentration of antioxidants, a purple potato’s nutrition consists of 7% protein, 8% fiber, 35% copper, 15% potassium, and 31% of the vitamin B6 of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA), making them an excellent source of these nutrients.

The nutrition of a small purple potato of approximately 170 g consists of:

  • 132 calories
  • 30.3 g carbohydrates (11 % DV)
  • 3.5 g proteins (7 % DV)
  • 0.1 g fats (0.12 % DV)
  • 3.6 g fiber (13 % DV)
  • 0.32 g copper (35 % DV)
  • 723 mg potassium (15 % DV)
  • 105 mg phosphorus (8 % DV)
  • 38 mg magnesium (9 % DV)
  • 14 mg vitamin C (16% DV)
  • 0.527 mg vitamin B6 (31 % DV)
Purple potatoes infographic

Purple Potatoes: The Superfood

It may be a bold statement that purple potatoes are a superfood. However, if you think about it, they have all the characteristics.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a superfood is a food (such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person’s health.

Purple potatoes have plenty of phenolic compounds, anthocyanins, and even carotenoids to boost their nutritional content on top of the vast amount of vitamins and minerals they possess.

Although not officially considered nutrients and technically speaking have no recommended dietary intake, phenols have shown protective properties against many chronic conditions.

These compounds, present in plant life, can reduce oxidative stress, which allows them to fight inflammation in the different tissues of the human body.

Anthocyanins are part of another group of antioxidants called flavonoids, commonly present in fruits and vegetables with dark pigmentation. Intense red, blue, and purple colors are universal signs that anthocyanins are present, and the darker they are, the more concentrated they will be.

They are known for their anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and even antimutagenic properties that aid in preventing and treating diseases like cancer, heart disease, and a broad spectrum of metabolic disorders.

Now, you shouldn’t forget about carotenoids. They are a strong group of antioxidant compounds that boost the immune system, help improve eyesight, and prevent macular degeneration. They are easily identified in fruits and vegetables boasting yellow, orange, and red tones, although they are also found in green leafy vegetables.

Purple potatoes have all of them in decent amounts!

Research at the Zhejiang University indicated that purple potatoes have over four times the amount of phenolic compounds when compared to white and yellow potatoes and over 10 % more than red potatoes. In the study, the total phenolic content included phenolic acids such as caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, p-coumaric acid, cryptochlorogenic acid, ferulic acid, and neochlorogenic acid.

Phenolic content in potatoes

But that’s not all. Researchers also analyzed the content of anthocyanins present in purple and red potatoes.

Anthocyanin in potatoes

Anthocyanins in purple and red potatoes

The analysis shows that some purple varieties have over six times the anthocyanins found in red potatoes.

Now, let’s take a look at how purple potatoes do when compared to other antioxidant powerhouses such as kale and spinach.

Food (raw)Antioxidant content in mmol/100g
Blackberries6.14
Blueberries1.85
Kale1.62
Brussel sprouts1.33
Purple potato (Blue Congo)0.93
Spinach0.89
Broccoli0.85
Cauliflower0.33
Tomatoes0.22
Carrots0.03

Antioxidants in different foods

Antioxidant in foods

Antioxidant concentration in purple potatoes and other foods

Interestingly enough, purple potatoes are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum regarding overall antioxidant content. Only blackberries, blueberries, and kale have a significant edge over purple potatoes in terms of antioxidant power.

The tuber is on par with broccoli, spinach, and even brussels sprouts, which are well-known veggies for their overall health benefits.

It’s important to mention that antioxidant content also depends on the location where the food was grown, specific variety, and the method used to cultivate the food, among other factors.

Purple Potatoes Benefits

The purple potatoes’ nutrition has a powerful impact on the human body. So, as you may imagine, there are exceptional benefits associated with consuming these tubers.

1. Reduction of Blood Pressure

The high potassium content found in purple potatoes aids significantly in the reduction of blood pressure. Moreover, its high concentration of anthocyanins and phenolic acids are responsible for strengthening the heart and blood vessels as well.

2. Keeping Inflammation at bay

It isn’t a secret that inflammation is the starting point of most chronic diseases. Fortunately, antioxidants like those found in purple potatoes may lower inflammation and even slow down the growth of cancer cells in the body.

3. Stabilize Blood Sugar

While it is true that purple potatoes consist primarily of carbs, they have the right amount of fiber to keep them in check. One small purple tuber can pack 3.6 g of fiber, which is good enough to maintain regularity, improve digestion, and reduce insulin spikes.

4. Making Awesome-looking Dishes

Purple potatoes can do more than help you be healthy. They can be what you need to make palatable dishes that captivate the attention of your guests. So instead of using white or yellow varieties for your next recipe, throw in a few purple-fleshed tubers to brighten up your meals and take flavoring to a whole new level.

Purple Potatoes: a Rare Specialty

In addition to their nutrition, you may be wondering what makes purple potatoes so unique? Well, they are indeed scarcer than Russets, yellows, or red varieties, and occasionally, some people even have a hard time believing they are actual potatoes.

Purple potato in halves

They have the typical oval shape of traditional potatoes, but that hue is something else. Their dark purple, almost black skin with an even more intense purple flesh is quite remarkable.

Since they are so unfamiliar, recipes prepared with them have an eccentric look and a more exquisite flavor. This characteristic makes people interested in their origin, appearance, and taste.

Purple Potatoes Origin, Varieties, and Taste

There is no denying that purple potatoes spark the curiosity of all those admiring and treasuring their exceptional qualities. Knowing where they come from, their immense diversity, and how all phytochemicals come together to produce such a nutrient-rich and appetizing tuber is something that most potato connoisseurs strive to achieve.

Purple Potatoes Origin

The origin of these tubers (sometimes called blue potatoes depending on the intensity of their color) is not that different from the other varieties. They come from the South American continent, specifically from the mountains near Peru and Bolivia.

The amount of potato varieties that are found in South America is staggering, as more than a thousand types can be traced to the Andean mountain range. It is a well-known fact that several civilizations have grown these potatoes for almost 8000 years. Today they are popular in many parts of the world, including the European continent.

Purple Potatoes Varieties

So what are purple potatoes called? Well, sometimes they are referred to as blue potatoes, but if you want a specific name, the best way is to use their variety. There is a vast number of purple-colored potatoes types though the most popular ones are:

  • Purple Fiesta
  • Vitelotte
  • Violet Queen
  • Blue Marker
  • Purple Fiesta
  • Purple Majesty
  • Purple Passion
  • Russian Blue
  • Blue Congo
  • British Columbia Blue
  • Nova Scotia Blue
  • Fenton Blue
  • Adirondack Blue
  • Blue Tom Cat
  • Purple Peruvian (or Peru Purple)

The Majesty gets a lot of attention due to its dark purple color, which is more intense than most.

The Taste of Purple Potatoes

Some people wonder if purple potatoes taste different. One important thing that people need to understand is that purple potatoes taste like, guess what, potatoes.

Yeah, you might be surprised, but it is the truth. Purple potatoes don’t taste like grapes, blueberries, plums, or eggplants just because their flesh has the same color. The purple shade doesn’t mean it tastes fruity, sweet, or anything like that.

Flavor-wise they are similar to white, yellow, and red potatoes with a twist. What makes them so special is the walnut flavoring surrounding their traditional potato taste.

It is a bit peculiar at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will realize this tuber’s extraordinary culinary potential.

Best Uses for Purple Potatoes

Purple potatoes are best for a wide variety of recipes involving roasting, boiling, mashing, frying, and even salads. Generally speaking, you can do anything you want with them due to their intermediate texture.

Still, some methods of cooking will work better than others. For example, roasting purple potatoes will provide a crispy and crunchy dish that will make you experience delight in every bite.

On the other hand, some purple varieties might get soggy after boiling for too long, so you have to watch them and get them out of the water once they have reached the desired texture.

In other instances, the tuber’s vibrant color might turn more like magenta or pink as you turn them into mashed potatoes. This occurrence is related to the amount of milk and cream you typically add to achieve the soft, creamy consistency everybody wants.

There are a few things you can do to solve this issue:

  • You may use less milk, butter, or cream to preserve the intense purple color.

  • The other solution is to pick a variety with a darker hue, such as the purple majesty with its strong royal violet shade, to obtain better results in your mashing endeavors.

How about baking? You can bake purple potatoes, but don’t expect them to be as fluffy as russets.

I mean, they still look pretty amazing and can infuse life and energy into an otherwise uninspiring dish; however, since they resemble red potatoes more than russets in texture, you might not get that extra fluffiness you are looking for.

Pan-frying purple potatoes are always a good choice. They look astonishing, and their consistency and flavor can’t be matched.

Identifying Bad Purple Potatoes Before Storage

A few universal signs that indicate when purple potatoes are going bad. It is true that, unlike white, russet, yellow and red potatoes, you may not be able to identify them as quickly, but rest assured, you will know.

A mushy or soft purple potato should be thrown out without hesitation. If it’s all shriveled up like a raisin, that’s another sign it isn’t edible. Your nose won’t lie. Offensive odors coming from your bag of potatoes (like dead fish) are a strong indicator that at least one potato is down, and if you don’t hurry to get rid of it, more will follow.

Remember to watch out for mold and unusual coloring inside the flesh. Darker than normal spots could be a sign of disease, so keep an eye for uneven, suspicious blemishes or brown to black discoloration.

Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to preserve them.

Raw purple potatoes typically last from one to two weeks at room temperature, generally above 65 °F. However, if you place them in a cool, dry place (from 45 °F to 55 °F), they may remain in good shape for several months. You may also choose to store them inside the fridge for approximately one month if you have no choice, but be warned, the starches will turn into sugars, and their flavor will be slightly off!

Once cooked, your only alternatives are the fridge or the freezer. The refrigerator will keep purple potatoes good for four to five days. Freezing them can prevent spoilage for an entire year, although their flavor and texture will drop massively after the first two months.

Understanding Purple Potatoes' Safety and Color

Purple potatoes are not poisonous. They are simply a more colorful and different variety of the tuber you usually enjoy. So why are they purple?

Some varieties originated high in the Andes Mountains in South America. The mountain range is thousands of feet high, with the Aconcagua peak being over 20000 feet tall.

You may also know that when potatoes are exposed to direct sunlight, it triggers the formation of the toxic chemical known as solanine, making them undesirable. So, as you can see, potatoes had no other choice at that altitude than to evolve to survive and thrive against the piercing ultraviolet radiation.

How did they do it? By developing dark pigments such as the purple tone everybody loves. You see, although there are several types of anthocyanins that may result in different shades such as red, violet, and even blue, the violet or purple one seems to provide the most protection and benefits.

One curious detail about pigments in most fruits and veggies is the darker they are, the higher their concentration, and the more antioxidant power they offer.

Like the melanin pigment that protects people with darker skins more readily than those with lighter skins, dark-skinned potatoes can guard themselves better against intense UV light exposure. They can also prevent cellular damage by manufacturing large amounts of antioxidants, which is what makes purple potatoes so enticing and healthy at the same time.

In the following video, Dr. OZ speaks about the remarkable benefits of purple foods:

Ready to Try Them? Here's How to Cook Purple Potatoes on the Stove – Recipes

There are no limits to what you can do with purple potatoes. Let your imagination be your guide on your path to new gastronomic experiences. Here are a few recipes you can put to good use to get you started in your journey.

Mashed Potatoes:

Purple potatoes' nutrition

As you can see in the image above, these mashed potatoes have a very light purple color.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium purple potatoes
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions:

1. Take a medium-sized pot and fill it with water.

2. Place it on the stove until it boils.

3. Meanwhile, grab 3 medium-size potatoes, rinse thoroughly, and peel them.

4. Cut them into small pieces.

5. As soon as the water boils, transfer the potato pieces to the water and add salt (to taste).

6. Cook for about 35 minutes. Check the potatoes with a fork to make sure they are tender enough.

7. Drain the pot, add 1/3 cup of half and half, 2 tablespoons of butter, and use the potato masher like you mean it.

8. When they get fluffy enough to your liking (people disagree on how much fluffiness is too much), serve and enjoy!

Tip – You can use a whisk to make them even more fluffy.

Roasted Potatoes:

Roasted purple potatoes

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Yield: 3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 medium purple potatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)

Directions:

1. Get 2 or 3 medium potatoes and rinse them.

2. Peel them and slice the potatoes as home fries.

3. Next, you want to brush them with extra virgin olive oil.

4. Then, you should sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

5. You can roast them at 425 °F (218°C) in the oven until they are fork-tender, about 45 minutes or until crispy.

6. Serve and Enjoy!

If you want to modify that simple recipe, you can adjust it by adding some of your favorite herbs to the dressing.

Adding other flavors

You can add rosemary to any purple potato recipe as it is one of the most versatile complements around.

Fresh rosemary

Because of their unique appearance, you might wonder, are purple potatoes good with fish? They can be eaten with fish, chicken, turkey, beef, or any other meat you can think of. Furthermore, they can be consumed just alone or with other vegetables.

Now you see what is so special about the purple potatoes’ nutrition. The dark-colored tubers can do wonders for your health and your cooking. So give them a chance, and discover how surprisingly enchanting they can be when you want to impress family and friends.