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Potatoes

Martha Stewart Kids, Volume 11 2004

Did You Know?

The average American eats about 140 pounds of potatoes a year.

In ancient Peru, where the potato originated, there were more than a thousand words for the spud.

Whoever coined the phrase couch potato got it wrong -- these spuds are no slouches. Potatoes contain complex carbohydrates, which are slowly digested to provide a steady supply of energy. They're also a big source of vitamin C, with nearly a quarter of the recommended daily allowance in one serving. The vitamin, along with other nutrients, lies just under the skin; if you peel potatoes, remove only a thin layer to preserve this part.

Potatoes come in many sizes and colors, including blue and pink. For our recipes, we used three familiar kinds: round red, long russet, and Yukon gold. Round red potatoes have a waxy flesh, which helps them keep their shape during boiling. Long russets, such as Idaho, have a starchy flesh; the high starch content makes them ideal for baking and mashing, since they become crumbly and fluffy when cooked. Yukon golds have a good balance of waxiness and starchiness; they're well suited to boiling, mashing, frying, and baking.

Store potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place, not in the refrigerator. Why? Temperatures that are too cold turn starch into sugar, resulting in a sweet taste, and harmful chemicals can form; warm temperatures cause eyes to sprout; and light makes potatoes green. Before using, cut out any green spots and eyes. If properly stored, potatoes will keep for two months.

Potato Pockets
Split Pea and Potato Soup
Roasted Potato Wedges and Chili
Mashed Potatoes and Meat Loaf