All About Potatoes

seasoned potato wedges on a plate

Buying pre-bagged potatoes is usually the best buy. But then what do you do with all those potatoes?  Here are few new ideas worth trying.

Potatoes are a nutritious choice

Potatoes belong to the Vegetables and Fruit food group in Canada’s Food Guide. One Food Guide serving is ½ cup (125 mL) or ½ a medium-sized potato.

Potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, a good source of vitamin C and a source of fibre and folate. Make sure to eat the potato skins so you get the most fibre.

Buying local potatoes

Potatoes are in season January to March and July to December.  Look for the Foodland Ontario logo to know if your potatoes are locally grown. When you buy local food, you support farmers so they can keep producing high quality, affordable food we can all enjoy.

How to choose potatoes

  • Buy firm, dry potatoes.  Avoid potatoes that have green or wrinkly skin, bruises, dark spots, cuts, cracks and sprouted eyes.
  • Pre-packaged potatoes in bags are often a better buy than individual ones. Consider sharing a bag with a friend if you can’t use them all before they spoil.
  • When buying frozen potatoes such as French fries or canned potatoes, buy ones with the least fat and sodium.

Tips for storing potatoes

  • Keep mature potatoes in a dry, dark spot in a loosely covered bag or basket. At room temperature they’ll keep for 1-2 weeks. In a cold cellar they will keep for 2-3 months. Potatoes should not be stored in the fridge.
  • Do not store potatoes and onions together because they will spoil quicker.
  • Refrigerate cooked potatoes within 2 hours of cooking and use within 3-5 days.
  • Cooked potatoes can be frozen in an air tight container for up to 1 year.  Raw potatoes do not freeze well.

Tips for cooking potatoes

  • Scrub potatoes with a produce brush while rinsing under cool water.
  • Cut any bruised, green or cracked parts off the potatoes. Bake, boil, roast, steam, grill or microwave.
  • Flavour with any of: salsa, tomatoes, onions, chives, garlic, chili powder, paprika, rosemary, thyme, lemon-dill, or no-salt mixed seasonings.
  • Like butter or margarine? Add about 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 mL) – this is more than enough to make your potato taste good.

5 things to do with potatoes

1. Mashed potatoes with a twist or two!

If you enjoy mashed potatoes, try these variations.

  • Boost the fibre. Try, “smashed” potatoes. Keep the skins on when mashing. Works great with red skinned potatoes.
  • Add some colour. Mix sweet and regular potatoes. Or try adding frozen peas and carrots, or corn to mashed potatoes.
  • Mix in some protein. Add lower sodium canned tuna or salmon.
  • Give it some flavour with grated cheese.

2. Cheesy Tex-Mex grilled potatoes

Make this kid-friendly side dish at your next barbeque (also works well in the oven).

  • Grill thinly sliced potatoes in heavy foil that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Once the potatoes are just tender, add a big spoonful of salsa and grated cheese overtop. Continue grilling until cheese melts.

3. Flavourful oven-baked fries

Save time. Bake these fries when you already have something else cooking in the oven.

  • Slice potatoes length-wise in half, then into 3-4 wedges. Leave the skin on.
  • In a large bowl, toss potatoes in canola or olive oil (5 mL for each potato you use).
  • Season potatoes with any of: paprika, garlic powder, chili powders, onion powder.
  • Bake at 450° F on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 30 minutes, turn over wedges and bake another 10-15 minutes or until tender and golden.

4. Use up leftover mashed potatoes

Make dinner time easy. Plan to have leftovers that you can use again. You can use mashed potatoes to:

  • Make a Shepherd’s pie (ground beef and vegetable mixture, topped with mashed potatoes and baked in a casserole dish)
  • Thicken soups and stews
  • Make salmon or other fish cakes
  • Make potato pancakes or dumplings

5. Baked potatoes with tasty toppings

Bake potatoes in the oven or microwave and top with any of:

  • Canned lower sodium baked beans
  • Canned salmon or tuna, grated cheese and diced green onion
  • Chili, vegetarian or beef
  • Ground beef (pan fried with onion, garlic and corn) and salsa
  • Pizza sauce, diced chicken or tofu, sautéed sliced mushrooms and grated mozzarella
  • Light sour cream or yogurt instead of full fat sour cream

Try these recipes:

Stove-Top Broccoli and Mushroom Quiche

Chicken and Corn Chowder

You may also be interested in:

All about beans

All about frozen vegetables

All about canned salmon

Last Update – February 27, 2019

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