Roasted Parmesan Cranberry Red Potatoes


parmesan roasted Cranberry Red Potatoes photo by lsimon

Cranberry Red seed potatoes called out to us this spring. Plant me, plant me!

We doubled the size of our garden this year, smack dab in the middle of the sunny back yard. So there was room for two bags of organic seed potatoes. The garden center had maybe a dozen oddball kinds. Reds, yellows, blue, and whites. We went for the Cranberry Reds and Swedish Fingerlings.

Cranberry Reds are red skinned outside and pink inside. The texture of the flesh is moist and smooth, like the common red potato you can get at the grocery store.

I was super anxious to start harvesting potatoes. I had always heard, “plant on Good Friday, harvest on the 4th of July”. My husband grew up on a farm and they planted potatoes in the huge family garden. He had never heard of this and thought it was way too early for our planting zone of 5.

With encouragement from me, he planted the seed potatoes earlier than he thought prudent. And no harm done. We harvested our first potatoes about the middle of July. They were very small, we enjoyed them, and let the rest keep on growing.


pink flowers on cranberry red potatoes 6-18-2009 photo by vsimon

most potatoes have white flowers

Mature Cranberry Reds are ugly potatoes. Many are lumpy. They have alligator skins, rough and crackly.  I am not sure I like the pink insides. Maybe I was hoping for more vibrant color. The inside color is variable. Some are quite pink, some are very pale, some are streaked.

They are supposed to be long keepers. That is very important with organic potatoes, since we do not spray them to prevent sprouting.

If they are firm and not stinky in January, I may look at them more kindly. I wonder if the inside color will change a bit.

Here is one of my favorite recipes for potatoes. The salty parmesan gets golden, crusty, crispy, fragrant. The insides get soft and smooth.

You can also use bakers instead of red potatoes. Really, all potatoes are good this way. Try it with cauliflower too, yum.

Parmesan Potatoes

Adapted from Everyday Foods

Serves 4

ingredients metric measures
8 medium sized red potatoes about .5 kg
1 egg white 1
1 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese 180 gm

oil, nonstick aluminum foil, or parchment paper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut potatoes into quarters, set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg white until frothy.

Toss potatoes in egg white to cover thoroughly.

If any egg white is pooling in the bottom of the bowl, drain some off.

Toss potatoes with 1 cup of parmesan cheese.

Oil a rimmed baking sheet, or better yet, line it with nonstick foil or parchment.

Place potatoes in a single layer on the pan and cover with remaining cheese. It is OK to let the cheese scatter in the pan. These bits get especially crispy.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the cheese is golden and crispy.

Did you plant potatoes this year? Or use usual kinds from the store. Please tell us about them.

P is for Potato-Oven Fries

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!

planting-potatoes photo by mike_warren


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.

potato-plant photo by cygnus921

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.

red-and-white-potatoes photo by mike_warren

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?