The Humble Yet Fabulous Potatoes: Must-Know Facts, Cooking And Storing Tips
Potatoes have long been rightfully a staple in homes across the globe. They are cheap, easy-going, versatile, and most importantly, delightful to savor on. But what do you know about these well-beloved spuds, except for the fact that they make for tasty French fries or Thanksgiving’s quintessential - mashed potatoes?
Check out essential information about these humble spuds, from nutrient values, exciting facts, cooking and storing tips, so the next time you can make the most out of this vegetable.
5 Main Benefits Of Potatoes
A source of nutrients
Potatoes are very cheap, easy-going vegetables while also packed with a bunch of nutrients, such as potassium, vitamin B6 and C, folate, and various minerals. These spuds also contain choline, niacin, and zinc.
Support weight loss
This vegetable is also a great source of fiber but low in fat, which helps keep your body fuller and aid in weight loss.
The nutritional values and caloric intake will vary depending on the way you cook the vegetable and what is added to the dish. Yet, plain potatoes (boiled or baked) are especially low in calories.
In fact, baked or boiled potatoes are nearly fat-free, so the same portion of potatoes provides fewer calories than rice or pasta.
Provide protective antioxidants
According to Healthline, potatoes are a rich source of carotenoids, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. These plant compounds are known to counteract the damaging free radicals in the body. Hence, they can prevent and delay the development of liver and colon cancer cell damages.
Help with blood sugar control
Potatoes are packed with resistant starch. This special type of starch is known for reducing insulin resistance and thereby facilitating blood sugar management.
In addition, there is a type of fiber known as pectin found in this vegetable, which slows down the speed of stomach emptying and decreases blood sugar levels of what you consume. Thus, potatoes are a friendly choice for those with type 2 diabetes.
Beneficial for your heart
Potatoes contain a significant amount of soluble fiber. They can help reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and thus lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Want more interesting cooking tips and recipes? Check out Njami Njami for exclusive information!
Facts, Cooking And Storing Tips You Need To Know About Potatoes
There are almost 5000 types of potatoes
According to the USDA, potatoes are truly a vegetable (starchy vegetable, to be exact). They are usually grown in cooler climates and come in an assortment of variants.
You might only come across a few varieties like Russet, Red Bliss, or Yukon Gold in the supermarket. However, there are nearly 5000 types of potatoes found globally, and 3000 of which are native to the Andes alone.
Each spud has a use
Not all potatoes are created equal, so choose wisely for each task. Because each variety features a distinct sugary profile, it has contrasting tastes and fits different purposes.
Most spuds fall into two categories: waxy and starchy.
Red Bliss and fingerlings are low in starch and high in moisture. As a result, they hold their shape better than most types of potatoes, making them ideal for gratin, salads, stews, roasting, etc.
On the contrary, Russets and Idahos are higher in starch but lower in moisture. Thus, when boiled, the skin breaks up while the starch inside collapses and turns fluffy.
Thanks to these attributes, they are your best bet for mashed or roasted potatoes, French fries, hash browns, etc. Also, the creaminess of starchy potatoes makes them a star for pureed soup.
Cook twice for more crispy potatoes
The world craves the crisp, crunchy, and golden potatoes, yet not everyone knows how to bring out that savory crunch. So here we’ll let you in on the scoop: cook your spuds twice whether you’re grilling, roasting, or deep-frying.
The first one is to kick out the moisture and make it tender, while the second attempt encourages the crunch. Twice-cooked potatoes have it all: the tender, fluffy texture inside and the satisfyingly crunchy potato skins.
The best potatoes for smashing…
Choosing the right potatoes is the only one step away from making the best-mashed potatoes. For the smoothest and fluffiest mash, our best candidates are Russets and Yukon Golds.
Yukon Golds have a naturally buttery flavor, which is only elevated by the added cream or butter for a creamy, rich-tasting, dense mash. Russet, the high-starch variety, is on the fluffier side and makes for softer and more pillowy mashed potatoes.
Depending on your preferences, you can choose either of the two or combine them. When baked and mashed together, these two potatoes deliver a nice silky mix. Add some roasted garlic, chives, and black pepper, and you have a match in heaven.
You need more salt for boiling potatoes
We all know about how to avoid bland, taste-like-nothing boiled potatoes, don’t we? Adding salt to the boiling water seems like a well-known culinary tip, but are you doing it right?
Sadly, most of us are pretty light-handed when it comes to salting potato water. The right proportion for boiled potatoes is a cup of salt, to be specific. It won’t sound like too much, especially when considering you will drain the potatoes and add some fat later. The potatoes won’t be as salty as you imagine.
Store them in cool and dark places
Store-bought potatoes can last as long as 6 months when you treat them right. It is advisable not to rinse your potatoes before storing. Washing them will remove the protective skins, so just store them straight away.
The favorable storing conditions are cool, dark, and well-ventilated to extend the spud’s longevity, and the ideal temperature should be anywhere between 42-55 degrees.
It is essential to steer clear of places near the onions. They emit ethylene gases, which can cause the spuds to sprout, rot and spoil faster. The combination of onions and potatoes can also release more moisture and lead to speedier spoiling.
From French fries, hash browns, mashed potatoes to salt-roasted potatoes, there is a potatoes-based dish for everyone. We hope these useful facts and tips help you know about these spuds better since there’s a whole world of potato recipes for you to try your hands on!