When learning about the gluten free diet, one of the first things a person might be told is to substitute a plain baked potato for bread at dinner. You really cannot beat potatoes for comfort, simplicity, nutrition, versatility, availability and even cost. Yeah, something that is gluten free and cheap!
Did you know that potatoes have lots more potassium than a banana? They are also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, and iron. They have fiber and are fat free, until you add some.
Potatoes are delightful at any time of the day. In the morning, enjoy the sizzle of hash browns frying, or thready potato pancakes. At lunch, imagine the toasty aroma of oven-fries (see recipe below). How about tangy potato salad, crisp chips, or simple boiled potatoes?
At dinner serve fluffy baked potatoes, or twice-baked boats loaded with cheese and bacon, or roasted wedges with fragrant herbs.
Or consider quick microwaved spuds, mashed potatoes with rivulets of melted butter, smashed reds with bits of skin and cream cheese, scalloped in cream sauce, chunky soup, cheesy gratins, and on, and on. Stay tuned for more mouthwatering recipes.
And you may be continually amazed how many fun colors of potatoes there are. The flesh can be white, yellow, red and blue. The skin can be brown, red, yellow or blue. The tubers may be big or small, round or long and skinny. Bored with the same old, same old? No way.
The flesh of potatoes can be starchy or waxy. Starchy potatoes are best for baked potatoes since the cute little granules of starch fluff up so well. Waxy are best for potato salad, the smooth cubes hold their shape well and do not fall apart when mixed with the other ingredients.
We planted several kinds of potatoes this year. Including a new variety called Cranberry Red, the skin and flesh are both red. And Swedish Fingerlings, yellowish flesh in the shape of a fat finger.
Turning the fragrant earth to find buried potato treasure is a real summer treat. In July and August, we will let you know how our backyard potato harvest turns out.
Availability and Cost
Fresh potatoes of some kind, especially white and red, are available year round. They cost as little as 25 cents per serving. Since there are so many ways to simply prepare a fresh potato, that is what I usually do.
Organic fresh potatoes are available and cost more than non-organic potatoes. If you eat a lot of potatoes, you might want to choose organic to reduce your exposure to chemicals.
I buy organic potatoes in 3-pound bags. That is quite a bit for the two of us and it takes a while for us to eat them all. I have to make sure they are in a very dark place to keep them from sprouting, since organic potatoes are not coated with an anti-sprout spray. It freaks me out when I open the cupboard and long wormy sprouts wave at me.
Processed potatoes are found throughout the grocery store. These include dehydrated, canned, refrigerated, and frozen potatoes. These cost more, and may or may not have gluten added. Be sure to read the label.
oven-fried-potatoes photo by vsimon
The Simplest Oven Fried Potatoes
1 medium potato per person, any kind
oil, I prefer canola
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut potatoes into sticks, thick or thin. I leave the skins on.
Put on a baking sheet. Using parchment paper or non-stick foil makes clean up a snap.
Drizzle with oil and massage it over all the surfaces of the potatoes. Use a lot of oil if you want more calories, use only a little if you want fewer calories.
Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how thick the sticks are and how crispy you like your potatoes. The skinny fries pictured took 30 minutes. There is no need to fuss turning the potatoes during baking, please leave them alone. They will brown on the bottom where they contact the pan. And in other spots on the top and sides.
Serve with ketchup if desired. Heinz and Annie’s Organic are gluten free, as are others. Again, read the label.
Please share. What is your favorite kind of potato, and your favorite way to eat them?