Ode to the Potato
The first potatoes of the year were harvested on Sunday many thanks to Darci, who is on her last week as an intern, the air conditioning of Target has wooed her to the dark side. This week you will find an assortment of farm reds, purples and golds and russets. Many of these I can't remember the names of. We have been growing potatoes for a really long time. As a matter of fact, Leo and I are the #1 organic potato grower in Santa Clara County. Really.
We try to grow enough potatoes to last the whole year. In theory this works, in practice between all of us, we just use way too many potatoes. If we grew enough potatoes to last all year, the corn and tomatoes would have to go. Typical Americans eat about 73 pounds a year. Although wild potatoes are found from the U.S. to Chile, they are a native of Peru.
Potatoes provide 45 % of the daily need for Vitamin C, which made them worth their weight in gold during the Yukon Gold Rush. Which reminds me, the main season potato from us will be Yukon Golds. Potatoes also provide 18% of your daily potassium needs. Yes, that's more than bananas or mushrooms.
- Store potatoes in a well ventilated place, optimally, at a temperature between 45ºF and 55ºF. (Like the garage floor.)
- Colder temperatures (as in a refrigerator) cause a potato’s starch to convert to sugar, resulting in a sweet taste and discoloration when cooked.
- Paper bags offer the best environment for extending shelf-life
- Keep potatoes out of the light.
- Don’t wash potatoes (or any produce for that matter) before storing. Dampness promotes early spoilage. The potatoes you receive from us are never washed, not even a little, so give them a good scrub up before eating.
- Green on the skin of a potato is the build-up of a chemical called Solanine. It is a natural reaction to the potato being exposed to too much light. Solanine produces a bitter taste and if eaten in large quantity can cause illness.
- If there is slight greening, cut away the green portions of the potato skin before cooking and eating.
- Sprouts are a sign that the potato is trying to grow. Storing potatoes in a cool, dry, dark location that is well ventilated will reduce sprouting. Return sprouting potatoes to the farm and we'll plant them! But only Foothill Farm potatoes.
- Cut the sprouts away before cooking or eating the potato.
• 1 1/4 lbs. potatoes, very thinly sliced
• 1 cup quartered and thinly sliced onion
• 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
• 1/2 cup stock or broth
• 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Spray an 8-inch microwave-safe baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1/3 of the potatoes and 1/2 of the onions on the bottom of the dish and sprinkle with 1/3 the cheese and 1/2 the herbs. Repeat layers, then top with the last 1/3 of the potatoes, layering potatoes so that there is a solid layer of potatoes with no gaps; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Stir together stock, Dijon and garlic salt and pour over the potatoes. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 20 minutes. Use oven mitts to remove dish from microwave; carefully remove cover from dish due to steam build-up and serve. Makes 6 servings.
Variations : Omit Dijon and garlic salt. Layer potatoes with 1 (4-oz.) can diced green chillis and 1/2 cup canned black beans. Use Cheddar or a Mexican cheese blend. Add 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin to broth. Cook as directed above.
Basic Potato Pancakes Recipe
2 c. grated potatoes
2 or 3 eggs
3 tsp. grated onion
1 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1 1/2 tbsp. flour
Mix all ingredients together and fry in hot oil until browned on both sides.
Makes 6 - 8 potato pancakes