Ube / Kinampay / Purple Yam

I always associated ube jam or jaleya with the holidays. aaube1 For some reason, if it was close to Christmas, it meant there was likely a jar or more of ube jam in the fridge. I have only discovered recently why this was the case in our home. Turns out the season for kinampay or ube in Bohol, where my mom grew up spending her summer vacations, starts in late November and lasts until late January. The incredibly fragrant ube from the island of Bohol is available in abundance during the holiday season…duhhh, that was simple. Boholanos are proud of their ube and it seems the combination of weather conditions, soil quality (or lack of it), etc. has yielded, in their minds, a provincial specialty unlike that of other ube growing regions in the country… I, of course, as a “descendant” of the province…buy the “our ube is best theory,” of course…

Ube or purple yam is one of several edible tubers that are part of the broad genus aaube2Dioscorea according to The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson. They are not closely related to sweet potatoes nor regular potatoes as most folks might assume. More specifically, ube is one of many yams under the species Dioscorea Alata that thrive all across Southeast Asia and the South Pacific and range in colors from white to deep purple and several shades/colors in-between. Ube can grow to mammoth proportions, with large specimens in Baguio weighing close to 6 or more kilos! These ones here sent by air cargo from Bohol to my kitchen are quite modest in size at just over a kilo a piece. Scraping just a bit of the skin yielded a view of some of the most vividly purple yam I have ever seen.

Growing up I ate ube in several dishes or desserts… as part of a aaube3guinataan (stewed root vegetables/tubers and fruits in coconut milk), jaleya or jam, ube pastillas, ice-cream, as an ingredient in sapin-sapin or even puto bumbong perhaps… I really do like the fragrance and smell of ube and I was thrilled when my brother sent me some dug up just a few days prior. Taking into account all of the comments from my earlier posts on ube here and here, I decided to make some ube jaleya and some ube pastillas for the recent holidays out of the cache of brilliant Boholano kinampay…recipes coming up in the next few posts!


34 Responses

  1. Great color. Purple yam is a very cool tuber. i do like it as a jam or ice cream. It does freak out europeans however haha. they cannot seem to reconcile the color with the ube flavor.

  2. I wonder if Bohol ube is different in taste from the ube I find in the Manila markets? I’m a big fan of this tuber, and I love that it sports such a spectacular purple.

  3. the ube you have in photo has a regular round shape. it is being dug under the soil or the ones that i saw that they are like squash being hanged on the trellis. Those i see here in market in manila got long irregular shape.

  4. Yes, the ube from Bohol appears to be different…it is more fragrant and incredibly purple. Even the head nun (?) or Chief Sister at Good Shepherd in Baguio said it was the best ube around. I think there are several varieties, some that start out rounder and others that just get incredibly monstrous and grotesque looking…

  5. Am an American once stationed in the Phillippines. I loved Ube ice cream. I’ve tried to grow Ube here in Georgia but I lose the tubers during storage during our winter. I am married to an Illacano lady from San Fernando, La Union.

  6. David, Filipino stores in the U.S. carry ube powder which can be made into ice cream…you may want to check it out if you need an ube ice cream fix!

  7. i wanna plant ube… anyone here know where to buy ube tubers or binhi? i have an almost 1 hectare farm lot in tarlac, tarlac wherein i wanna plant ube…i heard that it is easy to grow and lots of income in it… thanks for response…

  8. mary, sorry, I haven’t a clue where to buy ube tubers…don’t you just buy fresh ube and plant it to take root? At any rate, I hope other readers can answer this for you… good luck!

  9. can you give me or provide me recipe of ube yam. reading your articles makes me salivating for ube yam. I living here in Cambodia at the moment and ube is abundant, I want to cook for myself and my friends.

    thanks and more power


  10. My i assk some questions regarding to ube/halaya and kinampay variety?

    1. Is there some preservatives that i can use to prolonge the life of my halaya, to avoid early spoilage?
    2. Where can i get some planting materials of your kinampay?it is available in Cavite or near the vicinity of cavite?

    Thank you very much!

  11. Jeffrey, I have never used preservatives for ube jam or haleya…part of the attraction of home made delicacies is that they are fresh and unadulterated. I have never grown ube so I wouldn’t be much help finding you plants… I find the best ube comes from Bohol…

  12. hi! just wondering how long would it take before you can use the ube u planted? ( just in case i want to plant one hehehe!)

  13. gosh i wish i could find purple yams here in Indonesia…. i only get it in ice cream version which is fab by magnolia. miss it like mad haha.

  14. I wonder where outside of Phillipines, where I can obtain fresh unfrozen tuber…. Love them. Xia , I would plant them too.

  15. I found this ube at ABC Market in “Little Saigon”, Garden Grove, Ca. A Vietnamese lady was buying a big bunch of them. Out of curiousity, I asked her how she cooked it. She told me she just either boils or steams it until fork tender and then chills it in the frig and eats it the following day for breakfast with her coffee. “It taste better when eaten cold than when it’s hot and freshly cooked” she says. I did just what she told me and, boy of boy! I’m hooked. I have two tubers left which I’ll try to propagate it. This way, if I’m successful in growing it, I don’t have to hunt around to find more ube; …it is scarce. Having read the comments on this site,I wish the ube I have is the Bohol variety. But since I don’t know the difference, I’m happy with what I have.

  16. I am from Manila yet have lived now in the States for over 30 years. i live in Tennessee and use to buy the “ube” mixture in the jar. Lately, I am having a hard time finding this. I have to wait till I visit relatives in CA and that way I can bring home to TN all the “ube” I can store and eat later. I have a friend who while visiting San Diego, went to an Oriental store and bought me some “ube” tubulars. My requset to anyone out there is, ” Can someone give me a receipt to cook the “ube” that is eaten like a dessert or put in the Halo-halo.” Thanks in advance.

  17. I grew up in Indang, Cavite and I really love haleya(one of my favorites! Best eaten with the matching favorite sopas – Inay’s native chicken with Royal Spaghetti noodles).

    Inay wouldn’t spare the Holidays of her best harvest of ubi which my friends and officemates really enjoy. Not free!!! but a competitive price for a good quality. She makes good income from her hundreds of kilos during this season.

    I have started growing ubi here in Tandang Sora. I hope to make some money out of it, too.

    Interested with planting materials? Just let me know. Let’s make business.

  18. I have been looking for plant material for “Purple Yam” for a very long time. Can someone help me get it? I’m will happily pay in advance for a good source. Thanks in advance.

  19. My family is in ube jalaya maker for 30 years now, it started since my great grand father. Mostly, our costumers are foreigners who tasted our product, and the balikbayans that will return to their work in abroad. They used to purchase 10-20 kilos of our home made ube jalaya and sell it to our kababayans that loved our product. Sad to say, we can only cook 1 batch per day that will produce 10-22 kilos of ube jalaya, this is due to lack of capital and a steady supplier of ube raw materials. I hope you can help me in a way to find a steady supplier of raw ube because the supply here in cainta rizal is very rare, thats why we have to buy to a adjacent townmarket for a higher price. By the way, its my turn to manage the production from now on, i hope that i can grow our business that my great grandfather started. you can email my at mjsfelix@hotmail.com if you are interested

  20. Hi there,
    i am so interested to grow ubi. can anyone tell me what the ph of soil for ubi to grow well?
    many thanks everyone.

  21. Ubi planting materials can be obtained in November to February. I can help you find planting materials (tubers that you still need to cut into pieces)of some purple varieties. Kinampay is difficult to obtain though because of limited supply; it’s also very sensitive to diseases. I can also give you pointers on how to grow it, but I have to tell you its pretty expensive, perhaps around the cost of growing strawberries.

    Ms. Sue lico, you can grow ubi in soils with pH values of 5 to 8. It’s an upland crop and doesn’t like walerlogged land. It’s very important to put support (about 2 meter stakes) for the growing vines.

  22. I wonder where I can buy purple yam branch in U.S.A. Therefore I can plant in my garden. Thanks.

  23. If you are interested in growing ubi/ube, find and contact your sources of planting materials early, preferably between now and December. I might be able to help some of you find a few good sources (my email address: sirak08@gmail.com). The southwestern towns (Baclayon, Corella, Dauis, etc) of Bohol have traditionally been a major source. There is also an ubi festival held in Tagbilaran City every January (usually third week)and it’s a good opportunity for buying ubi tubers, if you can go there.

  24. We have a lot of kinampay ube here in Palawan,Philippines.We have an annual Production of 400-800metric tons. If you are interested to buy ube tubers,you can email at javiestemple@yahoo.com.ph and I am willing to supply 50metric tons or more.

  25. Ube now gives us a better sideline income generating hobby. It all started as a hobby. We’re already two years processing ube to ube jam. Ube is really amazing. It gives us, even to our valued customers a better and enjoyable taste.
    Thank God for everything, ube does give.

  26. Hi,

    I find your website very informative specially the blogs.

    Due to my extreme liking for ube I decided to make a good recipe whixh hopefully when I get to prefect it I coudl share here.

    My problem at the moment is how I could further let the taste of ube come out without necessarily using artificial flavors. I reckon that the traditional way of cooking didnt use many ingredients yet their ube was delicious and one can really taste the ube flavor.

    May I please ask for help anyone?

    Thank you


  27. Abet, good ube does NOT need artificial flavor. The most common use for good ube is probably ube jaleya and if made well it is delicious, and does not need artificial flavor or color. It is only our commercial penchant for extremely purple baked goods or ice creams with intensified artificial flavors that perhaps makes us think that the real thing lacks intensity. There are recipes for ube puto and ube jaleya elsewhere in this blog and if you want to go all natural, I think there’s no reason that you have to add anything artificial if you don’t want to…

  28. I have just harvested my ube. It is the kind of purple yam that grows it s fruit hanging. It is so very dark purple in color i dont know what to do with it. So i browse the internet and search for tasting recipe to try. tnx to this website i found plenty to help me.

  29. Hi, i’m visiting from los angeles. can you tell me where i can buy purple yam or yellow yam? thanks!

  30. kristine, most large wet markets should have it, though it is sometimes seasonal in that it is more abundant at certain times of the year. You may want to try Farmer’s Market in Cubao for the greatest chance, or weekend markets at the Lung Center near Quezon Circle in Quezon City or the FTI Taguig Market on Saturdays.

  31. my wife makes ube jam as a sideline,soon i will retire from my job and thinking of business full time,problem is the source of ube here in iloilo, orders keep piling up and i cant do about it. my wife halaya is all natural without preservatives it even reach the usa.now im thinking of planting myself, can somebody
    tell me how and what month i can do it.lately ube cost 50 pesos
    per kilo here in super in iloilo city. can somebody help me.



Subscribe To Updates

No spam, only notifications about new blog posts.