I bought my 20 pounds of potatoes! Did you?!? For those of you with a Safeway, they currently have 10-pound bags of russets on sale for $1.99. The limit on the coupon is two bags per customer, so of course I bought two! That’s 20 pounds of food for under $4!! My Southern-California sister informs me that she can score a 10-pound bag for only $1.50 at Sprouts. Anyway, I’m really excited about having so many potatoes on hand! Potatoes are a great way to stretch your grocery budget—they are filling and versatile!
There are many different types of potatoes, but the most common in my area are Russet (baking) potatoes, red potatoes, white potatoes, and Yukon gold potatoes. Russets are by far the most inexpensive, though the others offer more depth of flavor.
Thanks to America’s affinity for French fries and potato chips, potatoes have really gotten a bad rap. But potatoes are actually very nutritious. One raw medium (~7.5 oz.) potato provides 4 grams protein, 5 grams dietary fiber, 70% daily vitamin C, 31% daily B6, and 26% daily potassium along with loads of other vitamins and minerals (see complete breakdown here). The key to getting all these nutrients is to eat the skin, which contains a lot of the healthy components. So to get the most nutrition for your money, don’t peel your potatoes.
Of course, the cooking method can also affect the final nutritional value of potatoes. Remember: more heat=more nutrient loss and more water=more nutrient loss. With this in mind, the healthiest way to eat a potato is raw. While not appealing to most people, it is perfectly fine to eat raw potatoes (see note at end). In fact, April, my eighteen-month-old loves to eat raw potatoes! On a side note to you moms, this is a great way to occupy your little ones while you’re trying to cook—the potato keeps April busy for quite a while, but since she doesn’t have all her teeth, she doesn’t actually end up eating very much of it.
For those like me who like their potatoes cooked, there are so many options! I can’t possibly dive into all of them today so I’m going to focus on the methods that require the addition of oil, since that seems to be America’s favorite way to eat them.
French fries and potato chips are deep fried; and, frankly, that’s what makes them taste so good! When deep frying potatoes at home, always make sure your oil is clean, you maintain the proper temperature, and you let the finished potatoes drain a bit after cooking. Keep in mind that the more surface area there is, the more oil will be added during the frying process. So one pound of steak fries is healthier than one pound of shoestring potatoes.
Sautéing is a much healthier option to deep frying. You still need to oil the pan, but a lot less oil is used.
A third option is oven-frying. This basically means baking potatoes in the oven but adding some fat to get some caramelization and crispiness. The amount of fat can vary greatly from a spritz of non-stick spray to a layer of fat on the bottom of the pan.
So which cooking method am I using on my potatoes? So far I’ve oven-fried a few batches. I found a great recipe for Parmesan baked potatoes in our church cookbook and have been making them like crazy! Of course, they do have added fat in the butter and the Parmesan, but they are so delicious and so easy with minimal active prep time! And the amount of fat can be altered to your preference simply by reducing the amount of butter and Parmesan.
An added bonus to this recipe is that you can freeze the baked potatoes and reheat them in the oven at a later time!
Parmesan Baked Potatoes
- 6 Tbsp. butter
- 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
- ¾ tsp. salt (more or less to taste)
- ½ tsp. garlic powder (more or less to taste)
- Few dashes pepper
- About 6 medium Russet potatoes, washed and halved length-wise (any type of potato will work)
Preheat oven to 375°. Place butter in 9”X13” baking dish; cut into small pieces.
Place dish in oven as it is heating to melt butter (DON’T LET IT BURN!); remove from oven. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese, salt, garlic powder, and pepper over melted butter. Place potatoes in dish, cut-side down.
Bake uncovered 40-45 minutes or until tender.
To freeze, let potatoes cool completely. Place on rimmed baking sheet. Freeze until solid, at least 2 hours. Transfer to gallon zip-top bag.
To reheat, bake, cut-side up in preheated 350° oven for about 20 minutes. Reheating time will vary depending on type and size of potatoes.
Visit www.neartonothing.com for more ways to use your 20 pounds of potatoes.
Note: Green potatoes can contain a higher concentration of solanine, a toxin found in trace amounts in normal potatoes. The amount of solanine even in a green potato is not likely to cause problems, but for safety’s sake, any potatoes that are green should be discarded. See the Snopes.com article here and the NIH information here.