Saturday, August 29, 2009

One potato, two potato, three potato, four...

This week's box contained:
  • San Marzano Tomatoes
  • Oregano
  • Garnet Sweet Potatoes
  • Mystery (Anaheim Peppers)
  • Rapini
  • Red Beets
  • Potatoes (Mixed)
  • Strawberries
What caught my interest was the potatoes. Two types in this week's box and a third type still on hand from the box two weeks back.

I love eating potatoes. As you can see below, so does Sam. Having spent a few years in the low carb mindset, I always think twice when I get the urge. Potatoes are extremely versatile and can be amazingly satisfying, even prepared simply. But are they "worth" eating from the nutritional perspective? I did a bit of research...

Turns out potatoes are nutritious, sufficiently so that “Humans can subsist healthily on a diet of potatoes and milk; the latter supplies Vitamin A and Vitamin D.” [1] Potatoes are starchy, but their glycemic load is manageable, they are a good source of fiber, protein, potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and a bevy of phytochemicals. The urban legend about all the nutrition being contained in the skins is not true; most nutrients are evenly distributed throughout the potato. They are easy to grow in a number of climates. Not that one would thrive on a diet of potatoes and milk alone or would choose this path, but it should be no surprise that potatoes are heros in some parts of the world.

Interestingly, potatoes -- along with tobacco, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers -- are members of the nightshade family, which can be toxic to humans. It is true that green potatoes are poisonous, though you'd have to eat quite a few to feel any ill effects. Other interesting potato facts include:
  • Potatoes are the forth largest food crop worldwide.
  • The United Nations named 2008 the “International Year of the Potato
  • The average person, again worldwide, eats 73 pounds of potatoes a year.
  • There are over 5,000 varieties of potatoes, all seeming to genetically originate from southern Peru.
Visit the following sites for more info on the mighty potato, including recipes:
Or the following books:

Needless to say, I decided to indulge. Lunch today was pesto potatoes, as follows:
Pesto Potatoes
Serves 2 as main, 4 as side

1 pound new potatoes, 1" dice
2T olive oil
1t salt
prepared pesto

Preheat oven to 425f. Toss potatoes with salt, then olive oil, and spread on a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stir. Bake for another 15 minutes and remove from the oven. Stir in pesto, mix well and enjoy!

[1] Wikipedia, Potato, (August 2009).

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