History: The potato as we know it today, is the result of thousands of years of selection and cross breeding of wild potato species. It appears to have first been cultivated 4,000 to 7,000 years ago in the Andes mountains between Bolivia and Peru. From there it spread through South America and became a wide spread food crop, especially valuable in mountainous areas where little else would grow. The first potatoes came to Europe in the 1500’s. They were greeted with little enthusiasm, being considered poisonous and the cause of leprosy, until they reached Ireland where they quickly became a staple of for the poor. The Irish economy became so dependent on the potato that failure of the potato crop in 1845 brought about severe famine and emigration from Ireland. Potatoes did not become an important part of the English diet until the 18th century. Today potatoes rank in the top 4 principal foods worldwide.
Nutrition: In just 400 years, the potato has replaced grain as a basic source of nutrition in many nations around the world, Why? Because the potato is one of the best bundles of nutrition known to mankind. Its carbohydrate – to – protein ratio is ideal, and it provides significant amounts of Vitamin C, potassium, thiamine, and niacin. Since we don’t spray our crops with chemicals you can be comfortable serving them in nutrient rich skins.
The potato yields more nutritious food, more quickly, on less land and in harsher climates than any other major food crop!
Selection: When choosing potatoes look for firm, unsprayed potatoes, without green skins.
- Red Potatoes are firmer, hold their shape well. and take longer to cook. Use for soups, salads, steamed or boiled.
- Yellow Potatoes have a yellow fleshed interior, with a buttery, creamy taste. They cook quickly. Recommended for hash browns, pancakes, pureed soups, mashed, fried, baked, or boiled.
- Purple or Blue Potatoes have a lavender interior which holds its color in cooking. Best for baking, dry and flaky.
- Russet Potatoes are best used for baking. Dry and flaky.
The Greening of the Potato: If potatoes are exposed to light for too long the skin turns green. When this happens the toxin solanine is present. causing the potato to be bitter and toxic. Peeling deeply will remove most of the poison, but if more than half the skin is green it is best to throw the potato away.
Baked Potatoes: Preheat oven to 400°. Prick scrubbed potatoes with a fork. Bake one hour or until soft.
Microwave Baked Potatoes: 1 potato 4-6 min. 2 potatoes 6-8 min. 4 potatoes 12-14 min. 6 potatoes 16-18 min. Prick scrubbed potatoes. Place on layer of paper towel. Leave 1/2 inch between potatoes. Cook high (100%). Halfway through cooking turn potatoes over and rearrange.
Boiled Potatoes: Quarter scrubbed potatoes and place in saucepan with water to cover. Boil until tender, about 20-30 min. Drain. Seasonings: Traditional seasoning, butter, salt and black pepper. Experiment with chopped herbs, olive oil, soy sauce, umiboshi, cayenne, baked garlic, sauteed red pepper and onion, cheese.
Steamed New Potatoes: (4-6 servings) 2 lbs. small new potatoes of even sizes 3 tbsp. olive oil or melted butter Fine chopped parsley and-or basil, dill, oregano. Wash potatoes with skins intact. Place whole in vegetable steamer and steam until tender, about 20 minutes. Put hot potatoes in a serving bowl and toss with olive oil and butter. Sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper.
Potato Pancakes (makes 12 cakes) 2 cups grated potato 3 eggs, beaten 2 tbsp. flour 1/2 tsp. salt 3 tbsp. onion Place grated potato into a cloth and extracts as much moisture as possible. Put potatoes in bowl. Add eggs and onions. Mix. combine flour and salt. Mix into potato mixture. Shape into 1/4 inch thick patties. Cook as pancakes. Serve with applesauce.
Oven Fries (serves 4) 3 large potatoes 1 tbsp. olive oil 1/4 tsp. salt Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes into french fry shape. Place in bowl and toss with oil and salt. Spread on greased cookie sheet, one layer deep. Bake about 35 min.
Campfire / Grill Potato Packets follow the Oven Fries recipe till mixed in bowl. Wrap potatoes in aluminum foil, and place over coals. Bake 20-30 min. depending on heat of coals. turn halfway through baking.
What has eyes but can not see?
Potato-Leek Soup (serves 4)
2 tbsp. olive oil 1 large leek
1/2 tsp. salt 4 potatoes, diced
1 carrot, chopped 1 stalk celery, chopped
3 sprigs parsley, chopped fine.
Saute leek in oil with salt. Add carrot and celery. Sauté a few minutes. Add 2 cups water and potatoes. Simmer until potato is soft. Add pepper and parsley. Can be pureed.
Hash Brown Potato (4 servings) Combine with a fork: 3 cups finely grated raw potatoes 3 tbsp. grated onion 1 tbsp. chopped parsley 1/2 tsp. salt & 1/4 tsp. black pepper Heat 3 tbsp. oil in large skillet. Spread potato moisture thinly in skillet. Press into a cake. saute slowly. When bottom is well browned, flip and slowly brown other side. Serve hot.
Colcannon, Irish Potatoes
4 medium potatoes 3-12 cups chopped kale 3 leeks or 1 large onion 1 tbsp. olive oil 1/3 cup milk or soy milk 1/4 cup chopped parsley
Quarter potatoes and steam. Put kale on to steam separately. Meanwhile chop leeks or onions and saute in oil, stirring frequently. When potatoes are tender, drain, then mash. When kale is tender, drain it well. Combine potato, kale, milk, parsley, leek, and salt & pepper to taste. Serve hot.
Potatoes Tarragon (serves 4) 1 large onion 1 tbsp. olive oil 3 large potatoes 1 bay leaf 3 tbsp. vinegar 1 tsp. dried tarragon or 1 tbsp. fresh 1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp. black pepper
Slice onion into long strips. Saute in oil until transparent, Slice potatoes in half lengthwise, then in semi-circles 1/4 inch think, Add potatoes to onions along with bay leaf, vinegar, tarragon, sale and pepper, Add just enough water to cover potatoes. Cover. Simmer for 30-45 min., until potatoes begin to crumble. Stir gently from time to time. Remove bay leaf. Serve hot.