If you’ve noticed pictures of purple ice cream cones cropping up on Instagram recently and thought, ‘Mmm, that blueberry ice cream looks good,’ you may be surprised to learn that it actually gets its colour from ube –  a purple sweet potato.

Ube ice cream 🍠 purple potato ☂️ yumsssssss #pearypielovesicecream #Newyork

A post shared by Amata Chittasenee (@pearypie) on

Ube, pronounced ‘oo-bae,’ is the Filipino term for the purple tuber, and it’s in the Philippines that this sweet treat trend started. There, it’s used to make traditional desserts like ube halaya, which uses the boiled and mashed flesh to make a cold set pudding.

Now, bakeries and restaurants all over the US have been getting in on the action, creating ube waffles, pancakes, frozen yogurt, milkshakes, cheesecakes, cronuts, popsicles and more.

Because of the vivid violet shade of the dishes, it was only a matter of time before they became Instagram fodder – in fact, we think this is what those eateries were banking on.

What does it taste like? Fans say the flesh has a subtly sweet flavour, similar to regular sweet potatoes or pumpkin, that lends itself beautifully to desserts and adds moistness to cake mixtures without being overpowering.

What to try some? If you’re heading to the States any time soon, make a beeline for Soft Swerve ice cream parlour in New York or a Cafe 86 in California for ube cheesecake.

There are also lots of ube recipes for pancakes, cookies and ice cream online and you can find the essential ingredient in speciality Asian stores or Waitrose.

So what you waiting for? There’s no excuse not to whip up your own batch of Insta-worthy eye candy.