Spud Specials

Living in Idaho I've learned a great deal about gardening and harvesting from the many farmers in the community. There is one veggie this state is greatly known for; the Spud! Commonly known as the potato. Here in Idaho they celebrate this versatile vegetable in unique ways and even have a holiday where some communities have no school so kids can participate in the Spud Harvesting and festivals. Isn't that awesome! I have yet to attend one of these unique events but have heard they are quite the sight. Tug of wars in mashed potato pits, eating contests and everything under the sun. I have always enjoyed potatoes and really love how they truly can be made into so many different things.

You've got the classics like mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, tatter-tots, fries and so much more! In Pennsylvania they even use potato chips to top their salads! Potatoes come in deferent shades and sizes! Brown, yellow and red. My husband and I tend to prefer the red potato. Brown is the most common of the potatoes. These are cheap and yummy and are the classic for baked potato bars. Yellows and reds are often used in baked dishes, soups and casseroles.

Fun Ways to Cook Potatoes:

• Hassleback: Slice little slits into your potato almost all the way through so it makes a ribbing. Then coat it with oil or butter and your favorite spices. Cook like you would a normal baked potato.

• Mashed potatoes: tip; leave the skin on if scrubbed well, it adds to the texture and flavor!

• The Classic Baked Potato: You should know how to do this one :). Just remember to poke a few holes with a fork before you wrap with foil and bake. Or you may have a potato explosion in your oven!

• Baked Potato Soup: Soups are always a great dish to add vegetables to. There are tons of different styles of adding potatoes in. Find a good recipe, or just make up your own as you go!

• Twice Baked: This is a fun and unique way to prepare a potato. You basically cook it like a baked potato and then scoop the inside out, being careful to keep skin in tact. Then you add all delightful things like sour cream, cheese, butter, spices, salt and pepper to the scooped out mixture. After it’s mixed together you add it back into the skins. Top it with more cheese and some green onions, broil/cook for a bit longer, and wha-la twice baked!

• Potato Salad: I am not big on these because they often use lots of mayo and mustard. But a classic potato salad is common in an era of foods at a picnic or potluck.

• Cheesy Potatoes: There are many ways people make a good cheesy potato casserole. Basically you are putting cooked cubes of potato into a dish and mixing it with butter and sour cream and cheese and then cooking it all together. I love to add a crunchy topping of smashed corn flakes and butter!

• Roasted: This is a great quick way to cook a potato. Cut into cubes and sprinkle with oil or butter and your favorite herb and cook on high till crispy outside. Mmmm.

When you think of the one vegetable that can be used in so many ways it really comes down to the potato. The great Idaho Spud will forever be one of my favorite veggies to use in the kitchen! I didn’t know what the nutritional value of the potato was but was surprised by some of these facts:

• Potatoes are a good siroccos of potassium and actually have more than a banana.

• Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C. And contain more than a tomato.

• One medium potato with the skin on contributes 2 grams of fiber or 8% of the daily value per serving.

• Potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6 with one medium potato providing 10% of the recommended daily value.

• One medium potato provides 6% of the recommended daily value of iron.

So there you have it. Not only is the potato such a versatile and yummy vegetable to cook with but it’s got some great nutritional value to it as well. Start peeling and mashing and baking and simmering away. Vegetables are awesome and potatoes are one of the cream of the crops! What is your favorite vegetable? And what other ways do you like to use the great potato?

    Carolyn Spencer
    Monthly Newsletter Contributor since 2015
    Email the author! carolyn@dvo.com

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