Potatoes: A Controversial Topic

What do you think of when I say potato? Po-tah-to?  Chips? Butter and/or sour cream? French fries? Hash browns?  Home fries?  Gnocchi?  Latkehs?  Mashed potatoes?  Au Gratin?  Well enough of that!!!  Potatoes get a bad rap;  don't even think about them or your waistline will expand?  This may be true depending on which meal you are consuming them, what you are eating on them or with them, and how often you are eating them.

Did you know that in addition to potatoes being one of the ultimate comfort foods, they are also packed with more vitamin C than oranges and tomatoes?  In addition to being an incredible source of vitamins and minerals, they also contain over 60 phytochemicals.  Potatoes can be part of a healthy diet, however a variety of fruits and veggies is key, health fats, and lean proteins are needed for a healthy balanced meal.  Most of the potato's nutrition is stored under the skin, so try not to peel them unless absolutely necessary for a recipe. The potato is best metabolized when consumed with the skin on, as are most fruits and vegetables. 

Potatoes are categorized as "white," as in stay away from anything white such as white rice, white bread, white flour, etc.  They carry a high glycemic load, meaning that the carbohydrate digests rapidly in the body causing a spike in blood sugar similar to soda.  Ugh. Grapes are not a starch, but also have a high glycemic index.  Arguably there are better choices than potatoes and grapes for your baseline way of eating, but eating potatoes seasonally, especially from your CSA, can be a healthy choice as well if you are minding the portion size, leave the skin on, carefully choose what you will serve with it, and don't eat them first thing in the morning. 

What we serve on the potato, mix with the potato, how we cook the potato, removing the skin, which meal we eat them with, can make a monster out of the potato.

Storing

Potatoes will keep for up to around ten weeks, however the "newer" the potato, the higher the nutritional value.  Discard soft potatoes, those with spuds, and remove any green areas.  To help prevent potatoes from spoiling and sprouting, avoid sunlight and store in a cool dark place , do not refrigerate, and do not store in plastic bags.

Preparing

Always wash your produce in a store bought veggie wash or in a white vinegar and water solution.  Do not use hand, body, or dish soap as they will leave chemical residue.  Wash the potatoes even if you plan on peeling them, whole and skin on, with a veggie brush, scrubbing the surface of the skin using a circular motion.   Rinse and ready to use or peel if you desire.

Potatoes can be blanched for green or nicoise salad, boiled for salad or smashed/mashed, baked, broiled, grilled, steamed, fried. 

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-Dawn CHHC, AADP