The humble potato is nutrient dense (contains a good nutritional return for the calories), economical, and is the number one vegetable crop in the world! Potatoes are available year-round because they are always being harvested somewhere in the world.
The potato is actually a swollen part of the underground stem part of the plant, known as a tuber. The potato exists to provide food for the lush, green leafy above-ground part of the potato plant, which does flower and if it fruits, bears a fruit that resembles a tomato (but which is inedible). The family that the potato belongs to is the Solanaceae or nightshade family; other plants in this family include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tomatillos.
While most people tend to think of citrus fruit when looking for vitamin C in the diet, one potato contains nearly one third of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C! Potatoes also contain about one third of the recommended amount of difficult-to-come-by B6 and one third of the recommended amount of potassium. Magnesium, folic acid, and copper are found in significant amounts in the potato, as well as the essential trace elements manganese, chromium, selenium and molybdenum. Of note, potatoes also contain over 20% of the recommended daily value of calm-inducing tryptophan, which lends credence to its reputation as a ‘comfort food’. Potatoes are a very good source of bio-available iron, a mineral lacking in sufficient amounts in many diets.
The average potato contains about 10 percent of the desired daily intake of fiber, as well as small amounts of vegetable protein. Potato protein is a high quality vegetable protein, and a good inexpensive supplemental protein source.
Potatoes are virtually fat-free, cost pennies per serving and are possibly the most versatile vegetable there is! Liberty Market has a regular supply of organically grown potatoes for your enjoyment; pick up a few big baking potatoes and try the following recipe: simple enough for a workday supper but elegant enough to serve at a holiday meal!
Sliced baked potatoes
4 baking potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sea salt
Wash the potatoes and cut them into thin slices but do not cut all the way through. Chop the butter and put little chips of the butter in between the potato slices, along with thin slices of garlic. Sprinkle the salt in between the slices, wrap the potatoes in foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
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