Potatoes have gotten a bad rap, bless their little eyes. 😉 Chris Voigt, head of the Washington State Potato Commission, got so fed up with all the trash talk about potatoes that he went on a potato-only diet for two months — and lost 21 pounds eating 20 potatoes a day!
As Wikipedia tells us:
The potato contains vitamins and minerals, as well as an assortment of phytochemicals, such as carotenoids and natural phenols. Chlorogenic acid constitutes up to 90% of the potato tuber natural phenols. Others found in potatoes are 4-O-caffeoylquinic (crypto-chlorogenic acid), 5-O-caffeoylquinic (neo-chlorogenic acid), 3,4-dicaffeoylquinic and 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acids. A medium-size 150 g (5.3 oz) potato with the skin provides 27 mg of vitamin C (45% of the Daily Value (DV)), 620 mg of potassium (18% of DV), 0.2 mg vitamin B6 (10% of DV) and trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium,phosphorus, iron, and zinc. The fiber content of a potato with skin (2 g) is equivalent to that of many whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals.
In terms of nutrition, the potato is best known for its carbohydrate content (approximately 26 grams in a medium potato). The predominant form of this carbohydrate is starch. A small but significant portion of this starch is resistant to digestion by enzymes in the stomach and small intestine, and so reaches the large intestine essentially intact. This resistant starch is considered to have similar physiological effects and health benefits as fiber: It provides bulk, offers protection against colon cancer, improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, lowers plasma cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, increases satiety, and possibly even reduces fat storage. The amount of resistant starch in potatoes depends much on preparation methods. Cooking and then cooling potatoes significantly increases resistant starch. For example, cooked potato starch contains about 7% resistant starch, which increases to about 13% upon cooling.
While I sometimes turn to instant mashed potatoes for their convenience (especially when it’s just hubby and me for supper), last night, I decided to make up a mess of mashed potatoes to go along with our chicken fried steak. And when I say a mess of mashed potatoes, I mean that I made up a big ol’ pot of ’em. 🙂 Not only do they reheat well in the microwave, but I also have a couple of other recipes with leftover mashed potatoes that are pretty tasty.
While I will sometimes peel potatoes when I make mashed potatoes, I usually just scrub them really well and leave the skins on — not only is it faster and easier than peeling them, but it leaves in the nutrition and fiber from the skin. I first had mashed potatoes with the skins at Calico County Restaurant in Lawton, Oklahoma and I found them to be quite tasty.
I’m not too picky about what potatoes I use — I tend to go with whatever I have on hand or what looks good at the store. Red potatoes are a favorite, but I’ve also used Idaho and white potatoes. Last night, I did a mix of red and white potatoes.
I use 1% milk (skim is fine, too) and just a dollop of butter. The amounts depend upon the quantity of potatoes I’m making; I just add it in slowly, bit by bit — remember, you can always add in more, but you can’t take it back out!
These taste so yummy, you’ll be dancing the mashed potato! (Go on, give it a watch! The first link shows you how to do the dance; the video has the song. You know that watching them and singing and dancing along will do your heart and soul good!)
Mashed Potatoes (Quantity depends upon the amount of potatoes you use)
- Desired amount of potatoes, scrubbed well
- Margarine or butter (amount depends upon quantity of potatoes
- Milk (1% or skim is fine; amount depends upon quantity of potatoes)
- Salt and pepper to taste (I like to use coarse ground sea salt and coarse ground black pepper)
- Scrub the potatoes. Peel them, if desired — I leave the peel on and just cut away any unsavory-looking spots. Cut into good-sized chunks.
- Place potatoes in a sauce pan large enough to hold them comfortably. Fill with water; drain (this rinses away some of the starches). Fill with water again; drain. Fill with water to cover. Sprinkle in some salt, if desired.
- Bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat. Reduce heat so that the potatoes will simmer and cock the pan lid on the pan.
- Simmer until potatoes are tender when poked with a fork; usually about 15 to 25 minutes, depending upon the quantity of potatoes.
- Remove from heat. Drain away any excess water. Add in a dab of margarine or butter and a splash of milk (the amount depends upon the quantity of potatoes — for 1 1/2 or so pounds of potatoes, I’d start off with a tablespoon of butter or margarine and just a healthy splash of milk). Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, if desired.
- Whip with an electric mixer (or mash with a potato masher), gradually adding in more milk and/or butter or margarine as necessary, until smooth, creamy, and of desired consistency.
- Refrigerate leftovers.