Boniato is a relatively unknown root vegetable in the U.S. It originated in Peru and Colombia more than 3,000 years ago. In the U.S. they are mainly grown in southeast Florida. They are just starting to show up in some of the bigger food stores. This starchy root is also called camote, batata, batas or white sweet potato.
The boniato is part of the same plant family as sweet potatoes and morning glories. The texture of the off-white flesh is similar to a firm sweet potato. The taste is much less sweet because of a lower sugar content. Boniato have a milder sweet potato flavor with tones of chestnut. There is less moisture so they make a fluffier mash than sweet potatoes. They can be substituted into any sweet potato recipe.
There is no cholesterol in boniato, almost no fat and a little protein. This tuber does have a lot of vitamin C. Vitamin C provides a wealth of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection for the whole body.
This root ranks fairly low on the glycemic index. This makes it a healthy choice for those with insulin issues. There is only half the sugar of most sweet potatoes.
Fiber is found in abundance in this healthy root vegetable. Fiber promotes health by feeding the good bacteria in our digestive tract. This promotes a strong immune system. It also protects against colon and some other cancers. Soluble fiber in the blood also scavenges excess cholesterol and reduces inflammation.
How to eat boniato
Try to make this interesting edible root vegetable part of your healthy whole food diet. I prefer leaving the skin on. This is in order to get all of the nutrients present there. The skin protects the root from the outside environment and has the highest concentration of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.
This versatile root lends itself to savory preparations. I have baked, sauteed, steamed and boiled it with success. A favorite recipe is boniato mash with caramelized onions and garlic. It can also directly replace sweet potato in any recipe.
It can be difficult t0 find at your usual food store. Try a Colombian or Cuban specialty shop if one is within shopping distance. Incorporating foods like this into our diets a few times each month(or more often) introduces new combinations of nutrients and creates new synergies to promote maximum health. It is important for overall health to keep as much variety as possible in our diets.