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The Humble Potato In The Limelight

The Humble Potato In The Limelight

The Humble Potato In The Limelight

I simply can’t get enough of cooking with potatoes. These common tubers have proven to be consistent crowd pleasers in my family! Kids gobble them right up! My spud creations always get a seal of approval, and I believe this is because of their stellar absorption of flavors. Simply apply the best of oils, spices, herbs and condiments and you will wow your family and guests. I say we bring potatoes into the limelight, where they belong!

Potatoes are often described as humble because they are a simple and inexpensive food. Although humble, they offer plenty of inspiration and are the basis for many of our favorite dishes across the Mediterranean. Because of their incredible versatility, I think of potatoes as a blank, edible canvas, waiting for my artistic imprint to showcase its natural beauty and deliciousness.

Another reason I appreciate the potato is that it is has more nutrients and health benefits than pasta or rice. Potatoes provide a ton of energy, which is why I often include them in my breakfast to get my morning started. Because they are so energy packed, they are the food of choice for ultra-marathon race fueling. While running very long distances, athletes make pit stops for hydration and salted, boiled potatoes.

In addition to being a carb-rich food, potatoes are rich in vitamin B6 and vitamin C. They also contain a good amount of the essential minerals phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, manganese and iron. Potatoes are a good choice for diabetic meal plans as compared to pasta and other wheat-based products. Also, for those living a gluten-free lifestyle, the potato is an essential source of healthy carbs. To learn more about the nutritional benefits of potatoes, we think you’ll appreciate this thorough handbook  provided by the United States Potato Board.

Potatoes are a more sustainable food than pasta or rice. It seems logical that potatoes would win for sustainability, but the debate was put to rest with the results of a recent UK study.

It is always best to purchase organic potatoes. Non-organic potatoes are heavily sprayed with pesticides. I’m fortunate to live in the fertile Connecticut Valley region, which allows for access to year round, local, organic potatoes. You can go to the LocalHarvest website to see if local potatoes are available in your area. Potatoes are also very easy to grow yourself. Stop by Organic Gardening  to learn 7 different ways to grow your own potatoes.

For food history aficionados, I’ll provide a brief history. And, for those who would like to delve deeper into potato learning, you’ll see below a list of educational potato resources. You can visit the Idaho Potato Museum or their website for helpful potato facts. They recently completed a remodel, so you can look forward to newer and fancier potatoes! Also, the US Potato Board’s website Potato Goodness Unearthed is a great resource for all things potato. They also have a popular Facebook presence. 

Wild potatoes of many varieties first appeared in the Andes, and were originally cultivated in South America. There are now over a thousand cultivated varieties of potatoes. They are popular in the vast majority of cuisines of the world and are exploding in growth in some nations, such as China. As you might guess, potatoes are essential to the world food system and are the fourth largest crop.

Here are our top favorite potato recipes:

Ina Garten’s Roasted Potatoes 

Dorie Greenspan’s New Potatoes Simmered In Broth-French 

Leite’s Culinaria’s Spanish Tortilla With Manchego Cheese

Leite’s Culinaria’s Root Vegetable Scraps Latkes

Diane Kochilas’ Skordalia (Greek Garlic Dip Made With Mashed Potato)

Chocolate & Zucchini’s French Potato Gratin

A Cookbook Obsession’s Late Summer Vegetable Tian

Dandelion, Potatoes and Roasted Red Peppers from Mediterranean Living

Horta (Greens) with Potatoes from Mediterranean Living 

ALL ABOUT POTATOES: BOOKS ABOUT POTATOES, COOKBOOKS AND WEB RESOURCES

You’ll enjoy these highly rated potato selections that include “go to” potato cookbooks and geeky potato culture and history books.

300 Best Potato Recipes: A Cook’s Guide

World’s Greatest Potato Recipes

Haute Potato

Potato: A History of the Propitious Esculent

The Potato Book

The Complete Book of Potatoes: What Every Gardener And Grower Needs To Know

Frites: Over 30 Gourmet Recipes

Potatoes Goodness Unearthed: Potato Types Webinar Video

Potatoes Goodness Unearthed: Recipe Cards

Farmer’s Almanac: Planting, growing and harvesting potatoes

Smithsonian Magazine: How The Potato Changed The World

 

PHOTO CREDIT: PixaBay

 

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