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Keep Your Eye on Potatoes

Red Potatoes

Red Potatoes

Potatoes are one of America’s most popular vegetables.  Whether baked, boiled, microwaved, steamed or fried, they are a favorite complement to most any meal.  They are delicious and nutrient-dense, containing essential nutrients important for good health.  Potatoes are an excellent source of potassium and dietary fiber. The potato skin contains about half of the total dietary fiber.  Some varieties contain antioxidants including vitamin C, carotenoids and anthocyanins.

Green potato

Cut away any green on potatoes

Select potatoes that are clean, smooth and firm with no cuts, bruises or discoloration.  Avoid green or sprouting potatoes.  Green potatoes and new sprouts on the surface contain high levels of solanine, a bitter tasting toxin that can cause illness.  Greening is a natural reaction when the potato is exposed to too much light.  It can happen in the field, in storage and at home.  The toxin is in the plant as well as unripened potatoes, green potatoes and in new sprouts and should not be eaten.  However, if there is very slight greening on the potato surface, cut and discard those sections before cooking and eating.

Click here to see the UF/IFAS Extension’s fact sheet Growing Potatoes in the Florida Home Garden to learn more about solanine in potatoes, growing potatoes and the different varieties produced in Florida.

Clean the surface with cool tap water and a vegetable brush before eating.  Store potatoes in a cool, dark area with plenty of air circulation. Click here for more information on how to select, store and prepare potatoes.

Looking for a new way to prepare potatoes? Try the recipe below.  I think you will enjoy the mix of flavors.

Colorful Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients
2 medium potatoes (Yukon Gold or other type), cut into chunks (2 cups)
½ cup low-fat milk
1 cup sweet onions, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup carrots, chopped or grated
1 cup broccoli, chopped
¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon water

Directions
1.  Boil the potatoes 10 to 15 minutes or until very soft.  Drain.
2.  Mash potatoes and stir in the milk.  Set aside.
3.  Heat the oil in the skillet and sauté the onions 2 minutes.
4.  Add the carrots and 1 tablespoon of water; cover and cook slowly until almost tender,
about 8 to 10 minutes.  Check once and add more water if needed.
5.  Add the broccoli and cook 5 minutes more.  The carrots and broccoli should both be tender
and bright in color.
6.  Stir in the mashed potatoes, salt and pepper. Heat through and serve.

 Nutrition information per serving: Makes 6 servings (½ cup each)
 Calories: 80; 2 g fat; 15 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 135 mg sodium; 3 g fiber.