Spuds on the spot

February 24, 1999

Spuds on the spotAll materials courtesy of the National Potato Promotion Board

If the need to serve good food fast sends you scurrying to the nearest take-out restaurant, think again. Start with America's favorite vegetable - the potato - as a base, and master these five time-saving techniques. Before you know it, you'll be doing dinner a whole new way.

The Techniques

* Micro-Baked: Use the microwave oven to bake whole potatoes, then make a delicious topping for a satisfying meal-in-one.

* One-Pan: Cut up potatoes and microwave briefly. Saut with meat or poultry and a prepared sauce, all in one pan.

* Pouch Potatoes: Remember those campfire meals you made as a kid, grilling food in foil packets? Try it at home in your kitchen oven - but with greater style and flair.


* Micro-Mashed: Use trendy mashed potatoes as a "bed" for sauced meat dishes. The microwave oven simplifies the mashed potato preparation.

* Processed: Processed potatoes give you a jump start on more elaborate and time-consuming recipes. Use them to create classic one-dish meals such as this skillet frittata or experiment with combinations of your own.

Keeping spuds

Store potatoes in a cool, dark place that is well ventilated. The ideal storage temperature is 45 to 50 degrees.

Do not refrigerate potatoes. Potatoes stored below 40 degrees will develop a sweet taste, the result of an accumulation of sugars in the flesh of the potato. This increased accumulation of sugar will cause the potato to darken when cooked.

Avoid extended exposure to light, which causes potatoes to turn green. This greening causes a bitter flavor and should be pared away before the potato is used.

Wash potatoes carefully, and scrub gently with a vegetable brush if cooking with skins on.

The Skinny

Potatoes taste good. But just how good are they for you? One medium potato (148 grams) has just 100 calories, zero fat and cholesterol and 26 grams of complex carbohydrates, the body's main source of fuel. In addition, one potato provides 40 percent of the Recommended Daily Value of vitamin C.

- Source: PMA Labeling Facts



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