Purple Potatoes - Fad or Fabulous?
Growing, cooking and eating potatoes in vivid reds, blues and purples is all the rage these days - why is that?
In a delicious convergence of personal desires and best nutrition, it turns out that colorful food is both highly desired AND extra power-packed with nutrients. Many tell us we should be "eating rainbows" - a well balanced mix of colors to ensure we get all of the micronutrients we need.
Vividly colored potatoes are actually nothing new. When the edible tubers were first discovered 10,000 years ago, this is what they looked like:
Large, dark purple skinned ovals with moist, bright purple flesh that held its color through roasting and baking. It was only in recent centuries that farmers came to believe that city dwellers would prefer to eat white veggies, and they set upon a concerted effort to breed the vibrant colors (as well as a lot of the flavor and micronutrients) right out of the humble potato. Fortunately for us all, the brilliant colors and nutrient rich varieties were not lost, and now are being made available, albeit rather slowly. For now, home grown potatoes and farmers' markets are the best sources for the truly all-blue potatoes, whose vividly colored flesh adds such excitement to the dinner table as well as so much nutrition. Did you know that all blue or purple potatoes have the same level of antioxidants as kale and spinach? The royal shade comes from anthocyanins - disease-fighting antioxidants.
There is no denying the appeal of purple potatoes - their rich, earthy flavor is exceptional, and the visuals are too fun to pass up!
"Cioa Florentina is a Food & Lifestyle Journal about the lost art of wholesome cooking and living" and an extraordinary read I cannot recommend highly enough! Florentina's recipe for Heirloom Purple Potato Salad with Eggs and Herbs is a delicious example of her celebration of wholesome food from quality ingredients. Fresh herbs, pine nuts and eggs combine with purple potatoes for an enticing display and tasty side dish. (Visit Ciao Florentina for the complete recipe!) No need to tell the family how nutritious the blue spuds are - just let them think how cool you are! :)
As is often the case, the best way to ensure a steady supply of these tasty treats is to plant, grow and harvest them yourself. Fortunately, growing your own potatoes is super easy, and very rewarding. Garden fresh is certainly best, and a terrific way to introduce youngsters to the wonders of gardening as well as healthier eating. Any dinner that begins in the garden is always a winner!
- Tags: Species Spotlight
- Kathleen McCarthy