Updated: Mar 9
Garden spuds, an ultimate treasure from the ground that are worth digging for!
Roasted, steamed, mashed, fried or baked: potatoes are simply yummy! Heeded for the belly fat and adored for the palate, it’s a love and hate story... There is something comforting with the cooked “pommes de terres” (ground apple) as they are always appetizing and satisfying! These root vegetables' origins from the Americas. Antoine Parmentier, a French pharmacist and agronomist promoted the potato as edible food throughout Europe to end famine at the end of 18th century. And now, potatoes are one of the most essential staple foods in the entire world. They contain good sources of vitamins and minerals, especially unpeeled, but also, as we all know: the carbs. Depending how they are cooked and quantity consumed, they can have a negative effect nutritionally. Potatoes also have a potential toxicity if exposed to light, causing them to turn to green (better to discard any affected parts) and need to be first cooked to swell the starch granules. Potatoes were a daily ritual for my grandfather, they were his job and he was the best at it! The potato masher always will remind me of his love for prepping them. Most of the time, I prefer eating potatoes with weekend meals but when comes the summer backyard harvest, anytime is alright! It would be a shame to waste those organic freshly harvested “patates” (as commonly called in Québec) or “spuds” (as I often hear in Australia). The little new ones don’t store as long as the matured and cured ones so I always use those first. My favourite way to cook them is sliced in the air fryer. A perfect side for a BBQ meat and salads!
Cooking some coloured potatoes • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2019-20
GROWING & COOKING TIPS
In a backyard garden, potatoes can be grown in a raised bed, planting bag or container. They might end up smaller or not as perfectly shaped than what you buy at the shop, but that’s ok, they are still the best! Like with all vegetables, I love cultivating unusual or heirloom varieties that differ from what is found at the supermarket. The purple and pink ones are so stunning. Every summer we enjoy them on the side with BBQ meat, fish or into a quiche. If there is any left over from a supper they can be pan fried in the next mornings’ brunch. The “patates rôties” (pan browned potatoes) are an essential element to a Canadian sugar shack style breakfast. Potatoes are involved in so many traditional Québec dishes, like the Pâté Chinois (shepherd’s pie), “Tourtières” (meat pies), potato candies, stews and of course the famous poutine. In Australia, potatoes are popular on the side of a Sunday roast and stuffed, loaded or creamed in an oven baked dish. For lower in fat options, steamed or boiled are the best way. One good tip learned is that there are 3 types of potato varieties: starchy, waxy and all purpose. Starchy varieties don't hold moisture and breaks down when boiled, which makes them better for mashing. Waxy potatoes have more moisture in the flesh and hold their shape when cooked. All purpose are versatile, so they are a good choice as can work well for everything. Potatoes add texture in a winter vegetable puree soup (like a roasted pumpkin or green soup) and also makes delicious potato salads in summer. They can be stored and purchased affordably and locally all year long so this is of course an essential ingredient for the home kitchen in any season.
Digging garden potatoes • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2020-22
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