Trader Joe’s has been stepping up with their international options a lot lately. In the past few months, they’ve added mochi cake mix, kunefe, and a gochujang chop salad kit to their shelves. And as of this week they’re selling a new ube ice cream which just so happens to overlap with a growing trend.
Ube yams were first cultivated in Southeast Asia, namely the Philippines, where they’re extremely popular. In the last few years, they’ve gone viral for their purple hue. The vivrant tubers have a mildly sweet taste, so they’re often used in desserts like soft serve, panna cotta, doughnuts, and cookies. They’re rich in antioxidants as well as all the other nutrients found in sweet potatoes, making them a well-rounded vegetable. If you’d like to try cooking with it, chances are you can find it in your local international market.
But back to the ice cream: On the scale of all things purple, Trader Joe’s ube ice cream takes on more of a lilac color, much like the one seen in lavender-flavored desserts. So it’s purple, but it’s not disturbingly dark purple like certain brands of cotton candy ice cream or, say, grape Jolly Ranchers. While ube is sweet, it also has an earthy taste, which isn’t very pronounced in the ice cream. It’s somewhere between milky and malty, kind of like green tea ice cream, minus the bitterness. The nuanced flavor is delicious, and a little more neutral than you’d expect. It's like ube for beginners. Paired with its creamy, almost soft serve-like texture, this product is yet another winner for Trader Joe.
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