Blog

January 27th, 2017

The Real Mr. Potato Head

by Yael Ben-Chaim

Potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables. They can be eaten mashed, boiled, baked or fried; they taste great loaded with cheese and can be a vegan’s best friend. Added bonus: potatoes are available at Maryland farmers markets throughout the year. As a hearty root vegetable, potatoes can both last through sweaty summers and withstand frozen temps in winter.

Potatoes grow in all fifty states, but Idaho and Washington State claim more than half of the potato production in the United States.  In October 1995, the first potato was grown in space, making it the first vegetable to be grown out of earth.  There are over 1,000 varieties of potatoes, but the most popular and commonly found are russet, Yukon gold, and fingerling.

While starchy vegetables typically don’t offer as much nutritious value as non-starch based produce, don’t overlook the benefits of the potato! Potatoes are full of vitamin A, which is great for digestion as it protects the mucous membrane of the digestive system. People with food sensitivities need vitamin A to help with proper digestion of food and the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Folate, a B-complex vitamin in potatoes, assists the nervous system, as it helps to produce messaging molecules that send nerve signals throughout the body. The choline in potatoes supports energy and brain function. Finally, the most commonly known mineral in potatoes, potassium, works with sodium to support cellular function and to keep the body hydrated.

Potatoes should be stored in the refrigerator to avoid the starch turning into sugars. When picking potatoes, they should be smooth, firm and without cuts, bruises or discoloration.

Try this recipe for Oven Roasted Potatoes from AllRecipes

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed.

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 475 degrees F
  • Slice potatoes thin
  • In a large bowl combine oil, garlic, basil, marjoram, dill, thyme, oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes and salt. Stir in potatoes until evenly coated. Place potatoes in a single layer on a roasting pan or baking sheet
  • Roast for 20-30 minutes in a preheated over, turning occasionally to brown on both sides.
About the Author Yael Ben-Chaim

Yael is a food-lover, interested in local food systems and farmers markets. Follow Yael's blog posts on farmer market produce, recipes, and nutrition information. Yael is an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Maryland Farmers Market Association and is developing a seasonal food education program for MDFMA.