Food for Thought: Holiday potatoes made the easy way

By Nancy Schuster, Frontier Extension Agent

Food for ThoughtPotatoes get a bad rap. Everyone knows they are fattening! Here’s the skinny on potatoes. The following claims can be made for the potato; it’s an excellent source of vitamin C, a great source of potassium, a good source of vitamin B6, is low in sodium, and is low in fat.

A medium potato weights 5.3 ounces and is about the size of a computer’s mouse. While citrus fruits offer more vitamin C, a 5.3 ounce potato with skin provides 27 mg of vitamin C, 45 percent of the daily value. A 5.3 ounce potato with skin has 620 mg of potassium compared to one medium stalk of broccoli at 420 mg, or a medium banana at 450 mg. Potatoes also contain a complex carbohydrate – starch, and two grams of fiber. A 5.3 ounce potato with skin has 110 calories.

Cut potatoes that are uncooked can take on a pinkish or brownish discoloration. The potato carbohydrate is reacting to oxygen in the air; they are safe to eat. Preserve the color of cut potatoes by putting them in cold water with lemon juice or vinegar. Limit water soaking to no more than two hours, otherwise the water soluble vitamins will be lost.

Green skin potatoes contain a build-up of a chemical called solanine from exposure to light. Solanine can make you ill if you eat too much, so cut away the green part.

Here is a recipe for Crush Red Potatoes from The combination of reduced-fat sour cream and olive oil yields a delicious taste and texture in these crushed potatoes.

  • 2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed and halved or quartered if large
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine sour cream, shallots, parsley, milk, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir until smooth and set aside. Drain the potatoes and crush – but do not completely mash – potatoes with a potato masher or the back of a large spoon. Stir in the sour-cream mixture. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

If you want slightly creamier potatoes, slowly stir in extra milk at the end until desired consistency.

Nutrition facts: Calories, 122; fat, 4g; cholesterol, 6mg; sodium, 54mg; vitamin C, 19.8 percent; fiber, 2g; protein, 3g; potassium, 562mg.

schustersmNancy Schuster is a Frontier Extension District family and consumer science agent whose responsibilities include providing information about food safety, nutrition, food science and food preparation. She is based in the Garnett office of the Frontier Extension District and can be reached at 785-448-6826 or email [email protected].

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