February is National Potato Lovers Month. Potatoes are a good source of Vitamins B & C, high in Complex Carbohydrates, fat free and high in fiber if you eat the skins.
How to Buy Potatoes
Choose clean, firm smooth potatoes with no sprouts or greenish color.
1 pound of fresh potatoes equals…
About 3 medium potatoes
3 cups peeled and sliced potatoes
2 cups mashed potatoes
2 cups French-fries
Round red or white potatoes have a thin outer skin. They are good for boiling and stewing.
New potatoes are freshly harvested. They are sweet and moist and good for boiling and stewing.
Russets are oblong with thick outer skins. They are good for baking and make excellent mashed potatoes.
In addition, red- and yellow-fleshed potatoes (such as Yukon Gold) are sometimes available.
How to Store Potatoes
Handle potatoes gently. Bruised potatoes turn dark and begin to rot.
Store potatoes in a cool (45-50° F.), humid (not wet), dark place with good ventilation. When potatoes are stored correctly, they will remain fresh for up to a month.
If potatoes are stored in a warm place, such as under the sink, they may attract bugs and rodents. They will sprout and shrivel. Throw away potatoes that are shriveled or have many sprouts.
If potatoes are stored where they are exposed to light, they turn green, produce a toxic substance, and develop a bitter flavor. Peel off green areas before using. Throw away potatoes that are mostly green.
If potatoes are stored at temperatures below 40° F. or are in the refrigerator, they develop a sweet taste and turn brown when cooked. If potatoes get cold, warm them to room temperature before cooking.
Vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray
5 c. (about 2 lb.) raw potatoes, washed and sliced
½ c. onion, peeled and sliced thin
¼ c. flour
¼ c. margarine
1 ½ c. low-fat 1% milk
½-1 c. grated cheese or 3-4 slices processed cheese
Oil or spray the bottom and sides of a 2-qt. baking dish. Place about 1/3 of the potatoes in the baking dish. Add 1/3 of the flour, margarine and onion. Continue to layer the ingredients two more times. Heat the milk to a simmer. Pour evenly over the potatoes. Bake at 400° F. uncovered for 1 ½ hours or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle or place cheese on top last 25 minutes until cheese is melted.
4 medium potatoes
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil (or use vegetable spray)
Scrub potatoes. Cut into long strips about ½-inch thick. Dry strips with a paper towel. Mix potato strips and oil (or spray) in a bowl. Place oil coated potatoes in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 475° F. for about 35 minutes. Turn strips once to brown on both sides. Sprinkle with desired seasoning before serving.
Microwave Baked Potato
Scrub a medium Russet potato (6-8 oz.). Pierce with a fork. Place on paper towel. Microwave on high power 4-6 minutes, turning once. Let stand 2 minutes. Baking time can vary, depending on size, shape, temperature, and variety of potato.
Serving suggestions: Top with salsa, vegetables, chili, yogurt and chives, stroganoff, cheese or cottage cheese.
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