The Potato – A Cooking Staple

by admin | 08/08/2013 15:22

Regardless of how you fix them, whether diced, sliced, mashed or baked, potatoes are the most popular vegetable in America, and a pantry staple. Most Americans include some form of potato product in one out of three meals they eat daily. Potatoes, when prepared well, and without added fat, are a wonderful source of nutritional energy.

When shopping for potatoes, choose ones that are firm, smooth, and have no spots and sprouts. If a potato is rather green in appearance it indicates sunburn or light exposure and should be avoided. Find the proper potato for the dish that you are preparing. Waxy or boiling potatoes are better suited for soups, salads or barbequing. Some names to look for in your store are Red Potato, Round Red or Yellow Potato to name a few. For baking, mashing or frying, try to use a starchy potato variety. These potato varieties are usually long and coarse and their skins feel like a cork when touched. Some familiar starchy potato names you’ll see in your grocery store are Gold Rush, Russet Arcadia, and Russet Burbank.

Be sure to store potatoes in a dark, dry, cool area. Temperatures above 50 F cause potatoes to sprout and shrivel. Refrigeration is not recommended because the starch will turn to sugar and the potato will turn dark when cooked.

Like oranges, potatoes are very high in vitamin C. One medium potato contains 45% of the vitamin C that’s recommended for good health. Potatoes are also high in fiber and carbohydrates and contain more potassium than a banana. A potato is naturally low in calories and contains no fat, sodium, or cholesterol. The skin of the potato provides a helpful dose of fiber, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, and several B vitamins.

Enjoy the following delicious easy potato recipe:

Parsley Potatoes

1 large onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter, melted
5 med red potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 c water
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1/3 c chopped parsley

Sauté onion and garlic in butter in a large skillet until tender. Add potatoes, water and seasonings. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain liquid, and discard; top potatoes with parsley. Serves 6.

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