Thursday, 24 March 2011 | Tags: , ,

Fried, mashed, scalloped, or au gratin, potatoes are a hearty staple in the North American and European diet and can be prepared in hundreds of ways. We find out more about buying this healthy vegetable.

The Basics

  • A medium potato contains almost all the nutrients your body needs:

    • about 110 calories

    • nearly 3 grams of proteins, no fat

    • about 23 grams of carbohydrates.

    • almost 2.7 grams of dietary fiber

    • 750 mgs of precious potassium.

  • When choosing potatoes, they should be fairly clean, smooth, firm and heavy for its size. Avoid potatoes with soft dark spots, large cuts, growth cracks, bruises, skinned areas, decay, sprouts or shriveling.

  • Potatoes should not smell musty or moldy, which may affect the flavor or indicate decay. Potatoes should also not look green. “Greening” is caused by exposure to natural or artificial light, and produces alkaloid solanin, creating a bitter flavor is potentially poisonous consumed in great quantities.

  • When reading recipes that call for potatoes, pay attention to the type requested. If no type is mentioned, remember:

    • For scalloped potatoes, use new, boiling potatoes or low-starch potatoes like red or yellow because they have more fibre and stay together better.

    • Baking potatoes are best for just that: baking. If used for other recipes, they can get all powdery.

Other Considerations

  • Hate peeling potatoes? No problem! Leaving the skin on preserves all of the potato’s abundant nutrition, and also provides some extra texture.

  • The water used to steam or boil potatoes carries some of the precious potato nutrients. Reuse it for gravy or to moisten mashed potatoes. Some people also like to use the starchy water from boiled potato chunks for bread making.

Be Aware

  • A common misconception is to bake potatoes in aluminum foil. But foil seals in the moisture and steams the potato, creating a pasty texture instead of dry and fluffy. Apply aluminum foil after baking to help keep it warm when serving.

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