A new find! Today at the grocery store where I am currently in Florida I discovered a new vegetable (for me anyway). It’s always so exciting to find new types of fruit or vegetables.
These were grouped with the yucca roots and the rutabagas. Called boniato, they are a kind of knobbly, purplish sweet potato, by the looks of it, and are quite heavy and hard. So, out of curiosity, I bought one to try.
It is indeed a kind of potato. It’s a creamy color inside and the taste is not as sweet as a sweet potato, or a yam. It’s also fluffier and drier than the yellow or orange-fleshed sweet potato. It has a rather subtle flavor, so I think one should go easy on the seasonings.
The Boniato or tropical sweet potato has a number of other names—Batata, Camote, Cuban Sweet Potato—and is a member of the morning glory family. It is thought that the boniato was cultivated as early as 1000 B.C. in Columbia and Peru, and then moved through Central America and the Caribbean to Florida. It is very popular in South Florida, especially among Hispanics, and is available year-round from Florida, where it is grown mostly in Miami-Dade county.
They are also very popular in the Caribbean where they are often prepared with pineapple.
Peel, slice and boil some boniato in water until just tender. Drain and layer in a greased baking dish with slices of fresh (or tinned) pineapple, ending with pineapple on top. Pour over about 4T melted butter and bake at 350F for about 20-25 minutes.