Fall Harvest: Potatoes

October 13, 2013 at 9:32 AM | Posted in potatoes | 1 Comment
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Potato cultivars appear in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes

Potato cultivars appear in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes

 

Potatoes are excellent storage vegetables, but most varieties are harvested in the fall. Potatoes are harvested from spring (new potatoes) through fall, and are an excellent storage vegetable to hold through winter. The thin-skinned, uncured new potatoes of spring and summer should be prepared differently from the more mature potatoes harvested in fall or stored over winter. Here are hearty, satisfying dishes featuring such potatoes.

 

 

The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Nightshade family. The word may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species. Potatoes were introduced outside the Andes region four centuries ago, and have become an integral part of much of the world’s cuisine. It is the world’s fourth-largest food crop, following rice, wheat and maize. Long-term storage of potatoes requires specialised care in cold warehouses.
Wild potato species occur throughout the Americas, from the United States to southern Chile. The potato was originally believed to have been domesticated independently in multiple locations, but later genetic testing of the wide variety of cultivars and wild species proved a single origin for potatoes in the area of present-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia (from a species in the Solanum brevicaule complex), where they were domesticated 7,000–10,000 years ago. Following centuries of selective breeding, there are now over a thousand different types of potatoes.[6] Of these subspecies, a variety that at one point grew in the Chiloé Archipelago (the potato’s south-central Chilean sub-center of origin) left its germplasm on over 99% of the cultivated potatoes worldwide.
The annual diet of an average global citizen in the first decade of the 21st century included about 33 kg (73 lb) of potato. However, the local importance of potato is extremely variable and rapidly changing. It remains an essential crop in Europe (especially eastern and central Europe), where per capita production is still the highest in the world, but the most rapid expansion over the past few decades has occurred in southern and eastern Asia. China is now the world’s largest potato-producing country, and nearly a third of the world’s potatoes are harvested in China and India.

 

Potato plants

Potato plants

 
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 acid (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.
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.
The cooking method used can significantly affect the nutrient availability of the potato.
Potatoes are often broadly classified as high on the glycemic index (GI) and so are often excluded from the diets of individuals trying to follow a low-GI diet. In fact, the GI of potatoes can vary considerably depending on type (such as red, russet, white, or Prince Edward), origin (where it was grown), preparation methods (i.e., cooking method, whether it is eaten hot or cold, whether it is mashed or cubed or consumed whole, etc.), and with what it is consumed (i.e., the addition of various high-fat or high-protein toppings).
In the UK, potatoes are not considered by the NHS as counting towards the five portions of fruit and vegetables diet.

 

 

Russet potatoes with sprouts

Russet potatoes with sprouts

* Potatoes are used to brew alcoholic beverages such as vodka, potcheen, or akvavit.
* They are also used as food for domestic animals.
* Potato starch is used in the food industry as, for example, thickeners and binders of soups and sauces, in the textile industry, as adhesives, and for the manufacturing of papers and boards.
* Maine companies are exploring the possibilities of using waste potatoes to obtain polylactic acid for use in plastic products; other research projects seek ways to use the starch as a base for biodegradable packaging.
* Potato skins, along with honey, are a folk remedy for burns in India. Burn centers in India have experimented with the use of the thin outer skin layer to protect burns while healing.
* Potatoes (mainly Russets) are commonly used in plant research. The consistent parenchyma tissue, the clonal nature of the plant and the low metabolic activity provide a very nice “model tissue” for experimentation. Wound-response studies are often done on potato tuber tissue, as are electron transport experiments. In this respect, potato tuber tissue is similar to Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans and Escherichia coli: they are all “standard” research organisms.

 

 

Various potato dishes

Various potato dishes

Potatoes are prepared in many ways: skin-on or peeled, whole or cut up, with seasonings or without. The only requirement involves cooking to swell the starch granules. Most potato dishes are served hot, but some are first cooked, then served cold, notably potato salad and potato chips/crisps.
Common dishes are: mashed potatoes, which are first boiled (usually peeled), and then mashed with milk or yogurt and butter; whole baked potatoes; boiled or steamed potatoes; French-fried potatoes or chips; cut into cubes and roasted; scalloped, diced, or sliced and fried (home fries); grated into small thin strips and fried (hash browns); grated and formed into dumplings, Rösti or potato pancakes. Unlike many foods, potatoes can also be easily cooked in a microwave oven and still retain nearly all of their nutritional value, provided they are covered in ventilated plastic wrap to prevent moisture from escaping; this method produces a meal very similar to a steamed potato, while retaining the appearance of a conventionally baked potato. Potato chunks also commonly appear as a stew ingredient.
Potatoes are boiled between 10 and 25 minutes, depending on size and type, to become soft.

 

 
In the United States, potatoes have become one of the most widely consumed crops and thus have a variety of preparation methods and condiments. French fries and often hash browns are commonly found in typical American fast-food burger joints and cafeterias. One popular favorite involves a baked potato with cheddar cheese (or sour cream and chives) on top, and in New England “smashed potatoes” (a chunkier variation on mashed potatoes, retaining the peel) have great popularity. Potato flakes are popular as an instant variety of mashed potatoes, which reconstitute into mashed potatoes by adding water, with butter or oil and salt to taste. A regional dish of Central New York, salt potatoes are bite-size new potatoes boiled in water saturated with salt then served with melted butter. At more formal dinners, a common practice includes taking small red potatoes, slicing them, and roasting them in an iron skillet. Among American Jews, the practice of eating latkes (fried potato pancakes) is common during the festival of Hanukkah.
A traditional Acadian dish from New Brunswick is known as poutine râpée. The Acadian poutine is a ball of grated and mashed potato, salted, sometimes filled with pork in the center, and boiled. The result is a moist ball about the size of a baseball. It is commonly eaten with salt and pepper or brown sugar. It is believed to have originated from the German Klöße, prepared by early German settlers who lived among the Acadians.
Poutine, by contrast, is a hearty serving of French fries, fresh cheese curds and hot gravy. Tracing its origins to Quebec in the 1950s, it has become a widespread and popular dish throughout Canada.

 

 

 

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

September 16, 2013 at 7:31 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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Always store corn in a cool, dry location, and keep the ears separated in order to prevent them from becoming moldy. Remember that as it warms up, the sugar in corn converts to starch very quickly. (In fact, when corn is piled high in supermarket bins, the ears on the bottom will be less sweet because of the heat generated by the weight of the ones on top.) To freeze corn, blanch the ears for a minute or two in boiling water, drain, and immediately flush with cold water to stop the cooking. Freeze the ears on a tray, leaving room between them so the kernels aren’t crushed and will hold their shape. Once the corn is frozen, place the ears in a sealed plastic bag. Frozen corn will keep for one year.

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

August 25, 2013 at 6:21 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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Rice can be stored in the fridge for a longer amount of time if you store a slice of toast on top of it. The toast will absorb excess moisture and keep the rice fluffy and fresh.

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

June 17, 2013 at 9:06 AM | Posted in grilling, Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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Doing some grilling? Impress your guests by barbecuing fresh corn to perfection this way: Before grilling, peel all but the innermost layer of husk from the corn, and trim the excess silks as well. Place on the grill and as soon as the husk darkens enough that the outline of the kernels is visible through it, remove the corn. It will be perfectly cooked and have a wonderful, smoky flavor.

Hamilton to amend rules for neighborhood farming

May 30, 2013 at 8:58 AM | Posted in vegetables | Leave a comment
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Hamilton to amend rules for neighborhood farming

By Eric Schwartzberg

 
HAMILTON — A measure that promotes and encourages urban agriculture by allowing anyone to use city or private property to grow produce is expected to become a reality starting this summer.

New urban agriculture amendments will establish rules for local neighborhood farming and allow any Hamilton resident to take an underdeveloped or undeveloped city lot or private property and use it to grow vegetables, herbs, flowers, nut trees or fruit trees.

The harvested bounty could then be used for their own consumption, to sell to others or donate to area food pantries, according to Alfred Hall, co-founder of Hamilton Urban Garden Systems, or HUGS.

Hall said the change is an important step to not only beautifying Hamilton, but helping it become “the greenest little city in America.”

“They’ve made a very important first step in a process that will eventually grow into a local regional food system, which will allow us to feed ourselves, develop community and create economic opportunity,” Hall said.

For example, someone who has multiple lots in the city and wants to erect 10-by-20-foot greenhouses on each one to grow flowers to sell will be able to do so, he said.

The legislation got its start earlier this year when city officials approached HUGS and asked for help with the ordinance, Hall said.

Recently approved by the city’s planning commission, the measure is scheduled to go to Hamilton City Council for approval next month.

Passing the ordinance is important because it relaxes restrictions on what can be done on a privately-owned lot and eliminates the need to go to the city for approval to establish a garden, Hall said.

“Every time someone wanted to do that, they would have to go and get approval,” he said. “Now, that will be taken care of. The approval is a pre-approval. You don’t have to go.

“Instead of 17 people going 17 different times, 17 people can now just go and garden.”

The amendments would allow temporary farmers market stands to be established on each plot between May 1 through Sept. 30 and limit hours of operation to sunrise through sunset, according to a planning commission report approved May 20.

Other basic restrictions include staying 10 feet back from the front of the property and five feet from the side and back of the property. Outbuildings, such as a greenhouse to extend a property’s growing season, may not exceed 200 square feet and cannot be more than 15 feet high.

Raised beds, planter boxes or containers located in a primary or secondary front yard setback may not be taller than 30 inches at the tallest point above the surrounding grade and may not cover more than 20 percent of the total front yard area.

In addition, no single box may be larger than 8-foot long by 4-foot wide. All planter boxes and containers must be set back a minimum of 10 feet from any property line and five feet from side and rear property lines.

Encouraging urban agriculture fits with other “green” strategic initiatives that Hamilton has set in place, including establishing a farmers market on the plaza and reducing the city’s carbon footprint, according to Chris Lawson, assistant to the city manager.

“It comes down to producing local for individuals to grow their own food where they live to reduce that kind of footprint,” Lawson said. “Instead of driving to groceries where you don’t know exactly where the food comes from, you’re getting to grow it locally. It utilizes empty spaces more effectively and promotes a healthier lifestyle.”

Similarly, city officials recognize “the potential of urban farming to bring people together and increase neighborhood collaboration,” Lawson said.

Hall’s recommendation for anyone who wishes to use an undeveloped or underdeveloped private or city lot is to contact the city or property owner and develop a memorandum of understanding on how that lot will be developed and maintained.

 
http://www.journal-news.com/news/news/hamilton-to-amend-rules-for-neighborhood-farming/nX6Nd/

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

February 28, 2013 at 9:35 AM | Posted in vegetables | Leave a comment
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Never add salt to the water when boiling corn; table salt contains traces of calcium, which will toughen the kernels. Instead, add a little milk, which will bring out the sweetness of the corn.

 

July 20-21, 2012 Marietta Sweet Corn Festival – Marietta, Ohio

July 18, 2012 at 8:31 AM | Posted in Festivals, Food, grilling | Leave a comment
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July 20-21, 2012 Marietta Sweet Corn Festival – Marietta, Ohio
Come enjoy hot buttered Ohio sweet corn served fresh on the cob and piping hot. Bring the whole family to experience a wide variety of delicious foods prepared by our local restaurants, events for all ages, contests galore, farm animals, historical exhibits and non-stop entertainment!

Join us…

July 20th and 21st 2012

Muskingum Park
Downtown Marietta, Ohio
Home of the sweetest corn in the country!
Join The Marietta Sweet Corn Festival as we celebrate our wonderful agricultural history. The Marietta Sweet Corn Festival promotes area agriculture and education in the area of agriculture. Proceeds from the Sweet Corn Festival are used to fund scholarships to Washington County High School Seniors pursuing a degree in agriculture or related areas.

Address: 200 block of Front Street
Marietta, Ohio 45750

Phone Number(s)
Local Number: 740-373-2191
Toll-Free: 800-288-2577
E-mail Address(es)
General Information: info@mariettasweetcorn.com
Hours:
Friday: 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Saturday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Admission: FREE

Events Dates:
7/20/2012 – 7/21/2012

Parking: FREE
http://www.mariettasweetcorn.com/

Green B.E.A.N. Ohio

June 11, 2012 at 8:14 AM | Posted in Food, fruits, vegetables | Leave a comment
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Ran across an article about Green B.E.A.N. Ohio. It’s a home delivery of fruits and vegetables and a really neat concept. I left some info about the company along with the web link. Check it out!

Green B.E.A.N. is a dynamic food company that takes a multifaceted approach to building local food systems. B.E.A.N. is an acronym that represents our core initiatives; Biodynamic, Education, Agriculture, and Nutrition. Our goal is to make healthy and sustainably grown local food affordable, accessible, and convenient to the Midwest communities we serve. We serve our mission by building food systems and businesses that address our communities’ greatest food challenges. We work with a network of local farmers and artisans that have both urban and rural roots.

Here is the family of Green B.E.A.N. companies:

• Green B.E.A.N. Delivery – An online service that provides fresh produce and groceries to Midwest communities. through its network of local farmers and artisans. We provide a year round service that gives our members a healthy alternative to conventional grocery stores. We currently serve both the communities of Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and Indianapolis.

• Tiny Footprint Distribution – Providing distribution of locally made food products to retail stores. Tiny Footprint is a low carbon footprint company that provides a platform for growth to local farmers and food artisans. We tackle the issue of local food distribution and work hard to get healthy local products onto grocery store shelves.

• Cool School Lunch – Our latest project takes a creative approach to dealing with the issue of childhood obesity and unhealthy lunch programs. Cool School Lunch was formed in 2010 and has just hired on staff nutritionist Elizabeth Blessing. During the 2010-11 School year we will provide educational institutions an online ordering platform for wholesale fruit and vegetable purchases. For 2011-12 we are developing a website for ordering and delivering school lunches.

• Farm to Kitchen Foods – Farm to Kitchen Foods develops “food that makes you feel good!” Executive Chef Brandon Hamilton creates healthy food with a focus on local and organic ingredients. Farm to Kitchen Foods was started because Green B.E.A.N Delivery couldn’t find certain local products we thought should be available to our community. Two years later Farm to Kitchen Foods has several retail outlets and a full product line.

• The Feel Good Farm – Don’t forget that food comes from a farm! Our certified organic farming operation grows a variety of crops that are utilized in our Green B.E.A.N. Delivery Bins. In the summer of 2010 we cultivated 8 acres. In 2011 we plan on “growing” and planting more crops for our members’ enjoyment.

We are passionate about LOCAL and SUSTAINABLE FOOD!

Green B.E.A.N. Delivery is proud to supply organic and all-natural foods to the communities of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Dayton and Columbus. Each of our members is assigned a delivery day based upon their delivery location. Once you have signed up for our service, you will be contacted via e-mail to confirm your delivery day. Orders are delivered from Tuesday through Friday, from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. during warmer months and 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. during colder months. Due to circumstances outside of our control, such as traffic and weather, occasionally orders may be delivered slightly outside of this timeframe. Your delivery time may vary week to week as we strive to travel the most efficient route.

If we do not yet deliver to your neighborhood, we encourage you to sign up anyway. Let your friends and neighbors know about our service. Your area may be the next expansion for Green B.E.A.N. Delivery.

Delivery to Your Workplace

If you do not live in our delivery area, you may be able to arrange delivery to your workplace. For business deliveries with 5 or more orders, a 5% discount will be applied to those orders. Please contact Customer Service for more information on setting up your account for business delivery.

Warehouse Order Pickup

You may also plan to pick up your order at our warehouse Tuesday through Friday. Contact us for more information including your pick-up location.

http://www.greenbeandelivery.com/cincinnati/

Nut of the Week – Cashew

January 17, 2012 at 11:11 AM | Posted in diabetes, diabetes friendly, nuts | 2 Comments
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The cashew is a tree in the family Anacardiaceae. Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju, which in turn derives from the indigenous Tupi name, acajú. Originally native to northern South America, it is now widely grown

Cashew tree

in tropical climates for its cashew seeds and cashew apples.

The tree is small and evergreen, growing to 10-12m (~32 ft) tall, with a short, often irregularly shaped trunk. The leaves are spirally arranged, leathery textured, elliptic to obovate, 4 to 22 cm long and 2 to 15 cm broad, with a smooth margin. The flowers are produced in a panicle or corymb up to 26 cm long, each flower small, pale green at first then turning reddish, with five slender, acute petals 7 to 15 mm long. The largest cashew tree in the world covers an area of about 7,500 square metres (81,000 sq ft).

The fruit of the cashew tree is an accessory fruit (sometimes called a pseudocarp or false fruit). What appears to be the fruit is an oval or pear-shaped structure that develops from the pedicel and the receptacle of the cashew flower. Called the cashew apple, better known in Central America as “marañón”, it ripens into a yellow and/or red structure about 5–11 cm long. It is edible, and has a strong “sweet” smell and a sweet taste. The pulp of the cashew apple is very juicy, but the skin is fragile, making it unsuitable for transport. In Latin America, a fruit drink is made from the cashew apple pulp which has a very refreshing taste and tropical flavor that can be described as having notes of mango, raw green pepper, and just a little hint of grapefruit-like citrus.

The true fruit of the cashew tree is a kidney or boxing-glove shaped drupe that grows at the end of the cashew apple. The drupe develops first on the tree, and then the pedicel expands to become the cashew apple. Within the true fruit is a single seed, the cashew nut. Although a nut in the culinary sense, in the botanical sense the nut of the cashew is a seed. The seed is surrounded by a double shell containing an allergenic phenolic resin, anacardic acid, a potent skin irritant chemically related to the more well known allergenic oil urushiol which is also a toxin found in the related poison ivy. Properly roasting cashews destroys the toxin, but it must be done outdoors as the smoke (not unlike that from burning poison ivy) contains urushiol droplets which can cause severe, sometimes life-threatening, reactions by irritating the lungs. People who are allergic to cashew urushiols may also react to mango or pistachio which are also in the Anacardiaceae family. Some people are allergic to cashew nuts, but cashews are a less frequent allergen than nuts or peanuts.

The cashew nut is a popular snack, and its rich flavor means that it is often eaten on its own, lightly salted or sugared, or covered in chocolate.

Cashew is very commonly used in Indian cuisine. The nut can be used whole for garnishing sweets or curries, or ground into a paste that forms a base of sauces for curries (eg.Korma), or some sweets. It is also used in powdered form in the preparation of several Indian sweets and desserts. In Goan cuisine both roasted and raw kernels are used whole for making curries and sweets. The cashew

Cashew nuts, salted

apple is eaten raw or used in curries.

The cashew nut can also be harvested in its tender form, when the shell has not hardened and is green in color. The shell is soft and can be cut with a knife and the kernel extracted, but it is still corrosive at this stage, so gloves are required. The kernel can be soaked in turmeric water to get rid of the corrosive material before use. This is mostly found in Kerala cuisine, typically in avial, a dish that contains several vegetables, grated coconut, turmeric and green chilies.

Cashew nuts also appear in Thai cuisine and Chinese cuisine, generally in whole form.

In Malaysia, the young leaves are eaten raw in a salad or with Sambal belacan (shrimp paste with chili and lime).

In Brazil, the cashew fruit juice is popular all across the country.

In Panama, the cashew fruit is cooked with water and sugar for a prolonged period of time to make a sweet, brown, paste-like dessert called “dulce de marañón”. Marañón is one of the Spanish names for cashew.

In the Philippines, cashew is a known product of Antipolo, and is eaten with suman. Pampanga also has a sweet dessert called turrones de casuy which is cashew marzipan wrapped in white wafer.

In Indonesia, roasted and salted cashew nut is called kacang mete or kacang mede, while the cashew apple is called jambu monyet (literally means monkey rose apple).

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