May 20, 2010
Did you know Americans eat about 140 lbs of potatoes each year? And not just in French fries either. The truth is like almost any other food, whether a potato is healthy or not depends on how its prepared. A hearty veggie, potatoes are high in vitamin C, potassium and are a good source of vitamin B6, fiber and antioxidants. Additionally, some promising research is showing the possibility of potato resistant starch having prebiotic health benefits.
With all the varieties of potatoes and the many ways they can be cooked, it’s easy to find a healthy way to prepare this inexpensive root veggie. To make sure you select the best potatoes, check for clean, smooth potatoes that are firm to the touch with no cuts, bruises or discolorations. Storing potatoes is simple. Just use the paper bag method; put unwashed potatoes in a brown paper bag and store in a cool, dark, dry place. But skip the fridge, this will increase their starchiness and cause a slightly sweet, off taste.
When preparing potatoes, make sure to cut away any green areas. It’s still safe to eat but but the green part tastes bad and can make you ill. Also cut away any sprouting areas or potato eyes before cooking. Using a veggie scrubber to wash your tater under cool running water will get it scrupulously clean.
While the most nutrition is preserved if you cook with the skin on, unless you buy organic you might want to consider peeling it—potatoes are on the EWP’s Dirty Dozen list for most heavily sprayed produce.
As the weather gets warmer, you can bake your potatoes in a crockpot—simply stab all over with a fork, wrap in foil and cook on high/low for 8 hours (depends on your crockpot which temp you choose and how heavily you load your machine!).
And after your taters are crockpot-baked, why not clean out the fridge and have a Tater Bar for dinner? You can chop those leftover veggies up, put out the remnants of sour cream, cheese and even marinated artichoke hearts. Use your imagination and enjoy!