$12 / 100g
800g / pack
Kūmara (sweet potato) has a long history of cultivation in New Zealand.
Kūmara was brought here over one thousand years ago from the Pacific islands by early Maori settlers. This bush had much smaller tubers and was widely grown, especially in the semi-tropical regions of the North Island. Pre-European Maori managed kūmara-growing with great skill. They grew several different varieties of 'bush' kūmara, which, compared to the varieties we eat today, were very small in size, being no bigger than a finger. Modern kūmara grows on a creeping vine and evolved from a larger American variety with bigger tubers and better taste which was imported in the early 1850s. The majority of kūmara is grown in Northland in the Northern Wairoa region where soil type and climatic conditions suit it perfectly.
There are different varieties of kūmara, however, only three main varieties are commercially available in New Zealand. The most common is the red-skinned, Owairaka Red, which has a creamy white flesh and is sold as Red; gold kūmara, sometimes sold as Toka Toka Gold, has a golden skin and flesh, and a sweeter taste than red; orange kūmara, sometimes sold as Beauregard, has a rich orange flesh and is sweeter than both red and gold. Beauregard kūmara can be used instead of yams in North American recipes.
What to look for
Look for kūmara that are firm with smooth and unbroken skin. Date stamped product packaging gives a reliable measure of freshness. Buy regularly, no more than a week’s supply.
Braise, bake, boil, char grill, microwave, roast, steam, stew, stir fry, stuff.
Ways to eat
Kūmara is a very versatile vegetable; it can be mashed, barbecued, used in soups, stir fries, pies, quiches, braises or stews; cooked as chips or wedges or baked whole; thin kūmara slices will puff up into crisps. To use kūmara in salads, first cook until soft, and then cool. Kūmara goes well with all meats and also complements fruits such as banana, pineapple, apricot and apple.
How to prepare
Peel, wash and portion. However, it is not always necessary to peel kūmaras; if leaving skin on, scrub skin well and remove blemishes.
Kūmara should be stored in a cool, dark place that is well ventilated. Do not refrigerate.