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Winter Feature: All About Potatoes

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Winter Feature: All About Potatoes 

Sweet. Russet. Fingerling. Even purple. 

When it comes to potatoes, you’ve got variety. 

No matter which kind you’ve found to be your favorite, the potato is a versatile and common produce item during the winter months. As a root vegetable, it can be found on farmers’ markets tables throughout the year, but especially during this fall season. Potatoes come in a variety of flavors and colors, making them a great addition to your fall or wintertime dish. 

But what about this root veggie makes it so popular in our everyday cuisines? Here, we’ll share some interesting things about the potato, including its valuable health benefits. And as you pick up a few spuds at the farmers’ market, we’ll also share some great recipes to inspire your own potato cooking. 

Potatoes: What Are They? 

Potatoes are a starchy food that can be fairly inexpensive to purchase. They grow off of the roots of the Solanum tuberosum plant, which is a perennial plant. This plant is native to the Americas and has been grown all the way dating back to the 1400s. Since then, the potato has only grown in popularity and delight. 

What Types of Potatoes Are There? 

These spuds are also very diverse as they come in over 100 varieties. However, these varieties each tend to fall into one of six categories. These categories share similarities in appearance, texture and flavor so you can find the type that’s right for you and your cooking. Cultivate Michigan shares a helpful breakdown of each of these six types.  

  • Russet - These varieties can be on the larger side and have a dry and light texture when cooked. They’re earthy in flavor and can be great for things like baking and roasting. 
  • Red - These are smaller and either round or oblong with a smooth texture. They have a slightly higher sugar content than russets, giving them a sweeter note that makes them great for roasting and in soups. 
  • White - These are round and have either a tan or white skin. They have a balance of both a creamy and dense texture and are mildly sweet, making them great for steaming or mashing. 
  • Yellow - With their larger size, these potatoes are yellow on the inside and have a buttery and sweeter flavor, which can be great to try out on the grill. 
  • Purple - On the smaller side, these potatoes have a blue or purple flesh and an earthy flavor with a lower sugar content perfect for roasting or baking. 
  • Fingerling - As the name implies, these potatoes are finger-shaped or oblong potatoes that can come in a variety of colors. They have a nutty flavor and can be great for both pan-frying and roasting. 

Where are Potatoes Grown? 

Potatoes have become almost a staple for households. They’re the fourth largest crop in the United States, too. And they’re not just found in Idaho. In fact, Michigan ranks No. 8 as the top potato producer, as it has more than 70 farms throughout the state. Since potatoes store well, fresh-from-the-market potatoes can be found in colder climates, like Michigan, well into November and throughout the winter market season. Other popular locations for growing potatoes, aside from Idaho, include places like Oregon, Wisconsin, Colorado and North Dakota. 

How Should I Store Them? 

Since they’re most often grown in cooler - not freezing -weather, potatoes usually don’t do the best in scorching heat and sunlight. Therefore, it’s best to store your potatoes in a well-ventilated area like a pantry that is not exposed to sunlight. 

An interesting thing to note about storing potatoes is that they can change with temperature changes. Potatoes that are stored in areas that are less than 50 degrees F, the starch in them converts to sugars. That taste change can make the potato sweeter. It may also cause slight discoloration to the potato when it’s time to cook it. 

Health Benefits of Potatoes 

The potato’s versatility is just one reason to love them. Another is the many health benefits that come along with each spud. While it is a root vegetable that’s high in starch, it also offers other great healthy vitamins and nutrients to take advantage of. Potatoes are also fairly low in calories, averaging about 160 calories for a medium potato. As outlined in an article by Healthline, potatoes can bring an important boost to your healthy eating habits. 

Vitamins and Nutrients - All varieties of potatoes have helpful vitamins and nutrients to support your overall health. These include things like Vitamin C and B6 to support your immune health and energy levels. It also is rich with nutrients like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin and folate to get you the recommended daily intake of each. 

Antioxidants - Fight off free radicals with antioxidants found in colorful potatoes. Compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acids act as antioxidants to work against diseases. 

Rich with Resistant Starch - While it’s important to be mindful of the amount of starch you consume, it’s also important to know which kind of starch you’re enjoying. Potatoes have a type of starch that’s called resistant starch, meaning that it travels to the large intestine where it helps to support your digestion and overall well-being. This type of starch may also help control your blood sugar levels. 

Cooking with Potatoes 

With so many health benefits that potatoes have to offer, you’ll want to incorporate them into a variety of dishes from breakfast to dinner. There are so many ways to cook up potatoes, including baked, boiled, fried, mashed and roasted. No matter what cooking utensils or kitchen equipment you have, you can find a way to enjoy this beloved winter produce. This versatility also makes them pair great with a variety of flavors and herbs, including everything from cheese to smoked salmon to mint to mustard. 

To help get you started, here we share some of our top potato recipes, with some Fustini-fied inspiration: 

Salads & Soups 

Start the meal off right or add in a side with the great flavors that come with potatoes. Take your pick of a hot or cold side to pair with your meal. 

Warm Potato Salad - Cook up some potatoes along with bacon and other veggies for this colorful and warm side. 

Mustard Potato Salad - Enjoy your potato salad with an extra punch by adding in your own mustard combination using Garlic olive oil

Sundried Tomato Corn Chowder - Toss in some chopped Yukon Gold potatoes into your soup to add some depth to this wintertime favorite. 

Baked & Roasted 

Take your pick on the variety of potato, stick them in the oven and enjoy! Here are some recipes and flavor pairings that make it quick and easy to enjoy these spuds. 

Rosemary Hasselback Potatoes - Pair your choice of potato with the flavorful rosemary herb and Rosemary olive oil in this easy and quick baked potato recipe. 

Roasted Potato Duo - Bring in some color to your plate by combining Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes in this easy, cheesy dish. 

Truffle Potatoes with Agrodolce Cream Sauce - Roasted potatoes with mushroom is great. But adding in an agrodolce cream sauce powers up the potato flavor for a delightful culinary experience. Check out this recipe that pairs potatoes with Sage and Wild Mushroom olive oil, Truffle salt and Shiitake agrodolce for a bold mushroom flavor. 

Layered Vegetable Medley - Layer in your potato slices alongside bright Roma tomatoes, zucchini and onions in this flavorful side. 

Potato Crisps with Avocado Dip - Make your own version of a potato chip with these flavorful options. The avocado dip, made with Persian Lime olive oil, also brings another delicious dimension to your potato. 

Other Fun Ideas 

With the classic flavor and versatility of use, potatoes can be used in just about any meal. Check out some of these more creative and fun recipe ideas to try out. 

Sweet Potato Orange Bread - Bake up some roasted potatoes in bread form with this sweet bread that uses the bright Blood Orange olive oil

Potato and Rosemary Pizza - Potato on a pizza? Drizzle on some Rosemary olive oil and sprinkle on some cheese and you’ve got a new favorite. 

Power Up on Potatoes

With their versatility, ease of use and numerous health benefits, potatoes can be a great addition to a healthy diet. Use this list of helpful recipes to try out with your spuds and discover the joy of this winter produce for yourself. Find a dish you and your family can’t get enough of? Let us know in the comments below or on our social media channels! 

 

 

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