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Potatoes deserve to be served

by Betsy Lynch

Thanks to an American fondness for French fries and potato chips, spuds have gotten a bad reputation when it comes to their nutritional  value. But in their pure, unprocessed state, potatoes are a dietary marvel. They provide virtually every nutrient the human body needs. And as far as satisfying hunger? Few foods are as filling.

A medium-size potato (5.3 ounces) contains approximately 110 calories, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein—and  so much more. With the skin intact, this humble vegetable supplies 620 milligrams of potassium (more than you get from a banana), 27 milligrams of vitamin C, plus magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, and most of the B vitamins. When researchers in Australia compared the “satiety value” of various foods, meaning how full they make you feel, boiled potatoes scored higher than any other food measured.

Potatoes are both economical and versatile, and most grocery stores offer a rainbow of choices. “White” potatoes come in different sizes, shapes and colors—russet, red, gold, blue, purple, white, and fingerlings. And, of course, there is also the classic sweet potato with its rust-colored exterior and bright orange interior, rich in beta carotene. Each variety has its own unique flavor and cooking characteristics.

When shopping, select potatoes that are solid to the touch, with smooth, blemish-free skin (no green tinge, discolorations, bruises, nicks, cuts, or sprouting eyes). Store your potatoes in a cool, dark, dry place with plenty of circulation, but do not refrigerate them.

To garner the full nutrient benefits of potatoes, choose simple recipes that call for roasting, baking, broiling, or boiling with the skins on. And be sure to eat those skins! They're rich in potassium and fiber, and they taste good, too.

roasted rosemary potatoesRoasted Potatoes with Fresh Rosemary & Garlic

1 ½ pounds small red or white-skinned potatoes (or a mixture)
1/8 cup olive oil
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2  tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes in quarters, place in bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary, and toss until well-coated. Transfer potatoes to a baking sheet and spread into a single layer.
Roast for at least 1 hour or until potatoes are browned and crisp. While cooking, flip twice with a spatula to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven, season to taste, and serve.

Makes four 6-ounce servings

Recipe courtesy of