Health Benefits of Cooking with Potatoes

Believe it or not, potatoes have lots of good nutrients which are good for the body. After all, they are vegetables. However, don’t get the idea that we can now run out and get deep fried French fries at the local fast food joint. Quite the contrary.

Interestingly, the scientific classification for potatoes is in the Solanum Tubersosum. Solanum is from a Latin word meaning “soothing”. In our household, mashed potatoes are always on hand when someone is sick or has a sensitive stomach.

It is recommended to eat the skin when possible, since a lot of the nutrients are found here. Speaking of nutrients let’s give a nice list of what these are:

Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, copper, potassium, manganese, zinc, tryptophan plus fiber.

All these minerals and vitamins play an active role in our health. From skin health to calming upset stomachs to giving your body lots of phytonutrients (these help increase your antioxidant levels) potatoes are a great part of your diet. Be careful though, they can contribute to weight gain – which is great for those who need to gain weight. If you struggle with your weight, just eat them in moderation – but don’t eliminate them from your diet!

But with all this good news, what can we use potatoes for besides mashed or baked potatoes? Fortunately we have some easy Italian recipes to give us a few ideas. I’ll list two simple ones below.

First, we have a recipe for Italian Potato Salad. This is an easy recipe which is perfect for picnics or cookouts, not only because it doesn’t contain the time sensitive mayonnaise which can easily go rancid, but mainly because it tastes amazing! I used this recipe on Mother’s Day, and it was a huge hit! The olive oil and white wine vinegar combination with the fresh parsley was the perfect match.

Next, we have Italian Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary. This is a wonderful recipe which you can keep the skins on. Use red or yellow skin potatoes – you know, the ones for roasting. They tend to hold their shape and form better without turning into mush.

For this recipe I actually did a test. I did one batch where I parboiled the potatoes with some vinegar added to the water (supposed to help keep the potatoes firm), and the second batch was not boiled at all, but put right into the oven raw. Both batches were seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and rosemary in the same manner.

The results were as followed:

  1. Firmness: The batch which was par boiled had a slight vinegar taste, but the vinegar was to help keep the potatoes firm, not really add to the flavor. I didn’t find any real noticeable difference in firmness.
  2. Length: Both roasted the same length of time. The non-boiled potatoes could have gone an extra 10 minutes. This in my mind only told me I won’t par boil them in the future. It is better for me to just leave it in the oven an extra 10 minutes rather than going through the hassle of par boiling.
  3. Taste: On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being no difference in taste and 10 being huge difference, I’d rate it at 2 – solely due to the slight vinegar which wasn’t even always noticeable. To be honest and unbiased and not influenced by preconceived ideas, I had my husband create a taste test for me. With my eyes closed, he gave me a bite from each batch. My verdict? When it came time to say which one came from which batch – I got it wrong.

So what does this tell us? It says save time and don’t worry about parboiling the potatoes.

One thing regardless of what you choose to do with your potatoes, don’t tell your kids, nieces or nephews that it is actually a vegetable!

To see more recipes check out my list of Italian recipes on my recipe box page by clicking here.

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