The amazing potato

The potato has long been a basic staple for millions of people. There are hundreds of different varieties of potato, some of the most common basics including:

  • white potatoes
  • red potatoes
  • yellow potatoes
  • purple/blue potatoes
  • russet potatoes
  • fingerling potatoes

PAtate al FornoA general guide for the commoner on how to use potatoes would be to separate out the colors and go from there. Of course, you can get really technical, studying the varieties of yellow, varieties of reds and so on, but for general purposes potatoes are best classified into sweet, starchy or waxy. Yellows are sweeter and softer and great for hash browns, roasting or boiling. They hold their shape real well and can really be used in just about anything. They take less cooking time than the russets, or white variety. Russet potatoes are starchy and don’t hold their shape well when cooked. They are great baked, mashed or used for soups. The red ones are great for boiling or for making summer salads. They have a more bitter taste to them, so are great in dishes with a strong flavor, like an onion/kidney bean salad or boiled with salt and olive oil.

All potatoes are great carbohydrates, they contain protein and they contain a very high amount of vitamins and minerals when eaten with the skin. Included are:

  • vitamin C (45% of daily recommended intake)
  • potassium (18% of daily recommended intake)
  • vitamin B5 (10% of daily recommended intake)
  • thiamin
  • riboflavin
  • folate
  • niacin
  • magnesium
  • phospherous
  • iron
  • zinc
  • fiber

And potatoes are relatively inexpensive making them a great add to a vegan lifestyle! Versatility is a plus, too, since this great staple can be made into anything from:

  • mashed potatoes
  • baked potatoes
  • boiled or steamed potatoes
  • grilled or roasted potatoes
  • scalloped potatoes
  • sauteed potatoes
  • potato pie
  • potato pancakes
  • hash browns
  • grated potatoes
  • potato flour
  • potato bread
  • gnocchi (pasta made from potato!)
  • potato chips
  • french fries
  • potato soup

patatedolciBut wait! Wait about sweet potatoes?? Or yams?

Technically they come from different families. With sweet potatoes you can eat the flowers, regular potatoes, no. Plus, they each react differently in the human body and have a different chemical makeup. Anyways, I can see no harm in classifying them all under “tubers” on the grocery list.

These are great for pies or just eating as is. They are the nice orange potatoes packed full of potassium, vitamin A and fiber! Overall, sweet potatoes contain much more nutrients than the regular potatoes. And yes, there is a difference between sweet potatoes and yams (yams come from yet another plant family). Sweet potatoes do contain a higher level of nutrients than the sweeter yams. However, yams are still a great add to any diet so one need not abandon them!

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