National potato lovers month - - The News for South Mississippi

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National potato lovers month

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

Potato Types

  • 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.

Scalloped Potatoes

  • 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.

Oven Fries

  • 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. 

For more information, contact: 

Nancy A. Freeman, County Director
Harrison County Extension Service 
(228) 865-4227

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