Is there any end to what we can do with potatoes? Nope, don't believe there is!
America's favorite vegetable is not only fat - and cholesterol free, it is also high in vitamin C and potassium, and is an excellent source of fiber with the skin on. Foods rich in potassium tend to keep high blood pressure under control. Another added benefit to eating potatoes is feeling fuller longer which can help keep weight under control. In addition to being nutritious and delicious, potatoes are versatile.
Just one potato offers 21-percent of the Daily Value for potassium. Potassium also helps retain calcium, which is important to build strong bones.
For vitamin C, think potatoes! Potatoes are one of the leading sources of vitamin C in the American diet. This vitamin is a potent antioxidant that helps stabilize free radicals, which may prevent cellular damage. Vitamin C also produces the collagen that helps hold bone tissue together.
One medium potato (5.3 ounces) with skin contains three grams, or 12-percent of the recommended daily intake for fiber. Preliminary studies show that fiber is beneficial for a healthy digestive system and may help reduce the risk of some cancers and possibly heart disease. Consuming adequate fiber and water helps increase satiety between meals.
Potatoes contain glutathione, an antioxidant that may possibly help protect against some cancers. Per serving, potatoes, along with avocadoes, asparagus, squash, okra, cauliflower, broccoli and raw tomatoes, have the highest glutathione content compared to other vegetables. In a study comparing the overall antioxidant activity of potatoes, bell peppers, onions and broccoli, potatoes ranked second highest after broccoli.
Potatoes can star at the center of the plate with beef, chicken or fish, or on their own as an easy vegetarian meal. Or, mash, bake or microwave potatoes for a tasty side dish. Leave the skins on your spuds for an extra nutritional boost for a wealth of vitamins, minerals and fiber are found in the peel.
Slices of baked potato skins can be crisped in the oven for a healthful snack. Or try stuffing halved skins with cheese, meat, fish or vegetables. If you wish, mix the filling with the potato pulp.
Potato skins contain an anti-carcinogenic compound called chlorogenic acid. This particular acid helps the fiber in potatoes absorb carcinogens that are found in grilled foods. Eating potatoes with grilled foods is common and important when preserving health and fighting off cancer-causing substances.
Plan ahead. Before you bake the potatoes, prick the skins only where you plan to cut them into slices or halves. Then there won't be extra holes for the filling to leak through.
When you scoop out the pulp with a spoon, leave a little next to the skin so that the skin won't burn or tear when recooked.
To store cooked potato skins (filled or not), freeze them on a cookie sheet. Then stack them in freezer bags, seal and keep frozen until you're ready to use them.
Did You Know?
Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes in approximately 2500 BC.
Diabetics can benefit from eating potatoes for several reasons. The vitamin C in potatoes is known for helping regulate sugar levels in the blood. Potatoes also contain complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates must be broken down before being absorbed into the bloodstream.
Picking, Peeling & Cooking Palatable Potatoes
Potatoes should have good rich color and have few eyes. They should be firm, smooth and clean. Avoid green potatoes. They have been exposed to light and are actually "sunburned", which turns the flavor bitter.
Potatoes can be baked, boiled or fried, and may be used in soups and stews. Try thin slicing potatoes, drizzling with olive oil, sprinkle with seasoned salt and bake. Top baked potatoes with an assortment of vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and beans. Fry potatoes with skins on for a "home made" taste and look.
Use a vegetable peeler to peel potatoes. Sprinkle raw potatoes with lemon juice or apple juice to keep them from browning.
Peeled, cut potatoes will often darken in mintues if not submerged in water or milk. To get them white again, simmer the potatoes in milk for a few minutes.
Store potatoes in a dark cool place to keep them from turning green.
When you purchase a bag of potatoes put an apple in the bag so the potatoes will last without sprouting and wrinkling for about 8 weeks.
If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it's still cooking, drop in a peeled potato. The potato absorbs the excess salt for an instant. Some swear by this method, others say it's ineffective. Give a try if in doubt - that's the only way you'll know if it works for you.
It's almost an automatic reaction for many of us to grab the salt shaker and sprinkle salt on our potatoes but do think twice and consider trying dill, garlic, onion, paprika, parsley or sage in place of salt - or at least some of the salt you would normally use.
For extra creamy mashed potatoes, stir 4 ounces softened cream cheese into one pound mashed potatoes.
For the best mashed potatoes ever, try using buttermilk and a small amount of the water the potatoes were boiled in. Make sure that the milk and water are still very warm before adding them to the potatoes.
Eating potatoes can calm a queasy stomach due to the vitamin B6 content in the potato's skin, which is good for eliminating nausea.
Potatoes for Migraines?
An old remedy: For migraines, slice raw potatoes on a white piece of cotton, sprinkle it with pepper and apply to the forehead for an hour or more .
Potato Juice as an Insect Destroyer
As an insect destroyer the juice of the potato plant is said to be of great value; the leaves and stems are well boiled in water, and when the liquid is cold it is sprinkled over plants attacked with insects, when it at once destroys caterpillars, black and green flies, gnats, and other enemies to vegetables, and in no way impairs the growth of the plants. A peculiar odor remains, and prevents insects from coming again for a long time. Source: The Farm and Household Cyclopedia - circa 1888
The Purple Potato
The purple potato has a royal lineage! In fact, they have long been considered a "Food of the gods". Seven thousand years ago the purple potato was reserved for Incan kings in their native Peru. The history of the purple potato traces back to the Purple Peruvian, an heirloom fingerling potato. But other purple varieties bred specifically for optimal health benefits are sprouting up today.
Purple potatoes contain powerful antioxidants that rival that of broccoli, spinach and Brussels sprouts. Geneticists are cross-breeding potatoes to examine the added health benefits of colored potatoes. Research by the USDA Agricultural Research Service found that potatoes with the darkest colors have more than four times the antioxidant potential of those currently available commercially. One such potato, called the Purple Magesty, has almost twice the amount of anthocyanins of any other produce. Another new variety, the Purple Pelisse, is now more readily available.
Purple potatoes have a subtle nutty flavor and are prepared the same way as other spuds. Try the microwave to best preserve color, though steaming and baking work well, too. Purple potatoes can add a flash of royal color - and nutrition - to your favorite potato dish. Choose firm, fairly smooth spuds, with no signs of sprouting. They store best for up to two months in a paper or burlap bag in a dry dark place if not exposed to sunlight or onions. Clean just before cooking and keep the peel intact for the best boost of color and nutrients.
Potato and Pepper Frittata Recipe
5 ounces (about one small) yellow onion
6 ounces sweet roasted peppers
1 cup egg substitute
2 tablespoons skim milk
8 ounces (about 1-1/4 cups) refrigerated hash brown potatoes
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Trim the onion and cut it in half lengthwise, then slice it thin (about 3/4-cup). Drain and thinly slice the roasted peppers (about 1/2-cup).
Preheat a 10-inch nonstick skillet with an oven-safe handle over high heat. In a large bowl, whisk the liquid egg substitute and the milk together until frothy. Stir in the onion, roasted peppers, and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
Garlic Red Potatoes Recipe
1 pound red potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper
Three medium garlic cloves
Wash potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet large enough to hold the potatoes in one layer. Add garlic and saute until about one minute. Add potatoes and saute until golden on all sides, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt and cover. Reduce heat and cook gently for about ten minutes, or until soft, tossing and stirring from time to time. Remove garlic and season with a little more salt and pepper to taste.
Blender Potato Soup
1/2 cup extra light olive oil
3 cups celery, chopped
1-1/2 cup chopped onions
1-teaspoon fresh minced garlic
1-quart of chicken broth
3 cups peeled and diced russet potatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
In a large saucepan, heat oil. Add celery, onions and garlic; saute until tender. Stir in remaining ingredients except 1/3-cup parsley and cheese; bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Pour half of mixture into blender; puree until smooth. Set aside. Pour the remaining soup into blender; blend until coarsely chopped. Combine both mixtures. Ladle soup into bowls; garnish with remaining parsley and cheese.
In 1710, William Salmon, a popular and prolific author, claimed that the cooked tubers of potatoes stopped "fluxes of the bowel" and could cure tuberculosis and rabies. He also reiterated a long held belief about plants that reproduced themselves below ground: the potato would "increase seed and provoke lust, causing fruitfulness in both sexes." These claims joined other folk-medicine beliefs: a peeled potato in the pocket could cure a toothache, a dried potato hung around the neck would cure rheumatism, and potato juice rubbed on warts would make them disappear.
To herb doctors, potatoes were not generally taken internally as a medicine but were thought to have some medical value. Slaves were known to carry potatoes to relieve pain and cure aches.
In the pre-Civil war days, potatoes were also carried in pockets for rheumatism. There is no evidence that wearing potatoes or carrying them, other than the power of belief, would have had any medical value.
When elm leaves are as big as a shilling
Plant potatoes, if to plant them you're willing.
When elm leaves are as big as a penny,
You must plant potatoes if you mean to have any.
- Northern England traditional lore
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