Groundhog Day, a traditional holiday that dates back to the end of the 19th century, is celebrated today in the United States and Canada. According to folklore, if the groundhog sees his shadow when emerging from its burrow, it’s a sign that bad winter weather is in store for six more weeks. If the groundhog fails to cast a shadow, then spring is “just around the corner.”
Of course, this is all in fun, and no one really relies on their local groundhog for weather prognostications. But this holiday does signify how tiresome winter can get, and how everyone is eagerly waiting for signs of spring.
Nonetheless, February 2 is the middle of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s often one of the coldest times of the year. That’s when warm, filling comfort foods really hit the spot.
In today’s post, we’re going to serve up three delicious recipes for one of the most popular comfort foods around: potatoes.
A Brief History Of The Potato
Most people think of Ireland when considering the origins of the potato. It’s true that in 1589, Sir Walter Raleigh introduced the potato to Ireland, near Cork. But Sir Raleigh was able to procure these first Irish potatoes because the Spanish Conquistadors had brought them to Europe from Peru in 1536.
It took nearly 40 years for the rest of Europe to catch on to this subterranean vegetable, but eventually, its ease of cultivation, nutritional value, and prolific production (nearly 10 people could be fed from a single acre of potato plants) won out, and the potato caught on with agriculturalists in the early 1600s.
It caught on so much, in fact, that it became a staple crop in Ireland, and when the potato blight hit in 1840, it was devastating to the Irish people, many of whom emigrated from their homeland to escape starvation.
Prior to that, however, the potato found its way to the U.S. in 1621, when the governor of Bermuda sent large wooden chests filled with vegetables, including potatoes, to Governor Wyatt of Jamestown, Virginia.
The first permanent potato patches in the United States were planted in the state of New Hampshire in 1719, with Idaho being a surprising latecomer to the potato scene. Now known for its russets, Idaho did not become a top producer of potatoes until 1872, when the Russet Burbank was developed.
Just What Are You Eating When You Eat A Potato?
The green tops of potato plants are inedible, like the stems and leaves of its nightshade relative, the tomato. But the tubers, as long as they have not been exposed to sunlight long enough to turn green, are delicious and nutritious, as we’ll soon see. But first, I want to clarify that the potato is not, strictly speaking, a root, although it is often called a root vegetable.
White potatoes are tubers, which are starchy “storehouses” that can propagate new plants. The tubers are formed as part of the root system, and they contain quite a few nutrients.
We’ll explore their nutritional profile in a moment, but first I would like to discuss if…
Potatoes Are Acidifying…Or Not?
Sometimes there is confusion as to whether or not the potato is acidifying. The flesh of the white potato is acidifying. So if you peel a potato, chop, sauté, and eat it, it’s an acidifying food. However, if you leave that same potato unpeeled, it’s alkalizing.
The skin raises its pH, essentially, making it an alkaline food when the skin is left on, and it also adds a great deal of nutritional value to this delicious tuber.
Potatoes Offer Nutrition As Well As Comfort
Because they are so often transformed into fare like French fries and chips, potatoes have a reputation for being fattening and unhealthy. But skin-on white potatoes have much to offer Savers in bone-building nutrients.
- Vitamin C – A medium potato has 42 milligrams of Vitamin C, which is 45% of the RDA. That’s more than a tomato (40%)! Your body needs Vitamin C for so many functions, including your bone health. This Foundation Supplement helps build strong, flexible collagen, which forms the bone matrix, as well as nourishing skin and connective tissue all over your body.
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – Crucial for proper nervous system function, Vitamin B6 is listed as a Foundation Supplement in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. Vitamin B6 aids in the metabolism of protein, and works with the other B vitamins to build bones and promote healthy mental function. Together with folic acid and Vitamin B12, B6 helps lower inflammatory homocysteine levels.
- Iron – A medium potato with the skin on has around 2 milligrams of iron. The RDA for iron is around 20 milligrams a day for men and 18 milligrams daily for women older than 19. The potato’s Vitamin C content aids with iron absorption.
- Fiber – Here is another reason to keep that skin on the potato. One medium spud has 2 grams of fiber, a substance that plays a key role in bone health but often gets eschewed in popular “low carb” diets.
- Potassium – An electrolyte as well as a mineral, potassium is plentiful in a pH-balanced diet. It’s also plentiful in potatoes, with one medium potato offering 620 milligrams of this nutrient. Potassium balances sodium in the body and regulates intracellular and intercellular water balance.
- Calcium – When it comes to bone health, this is the mineral everyone thinks of (although no single mineral builds bone by itself). A medium potato has an average of 34 milligrams of calcium, or about 3% of the RDA.
Now let’s look at three scrumptious ways to enjoy this nutritious tuber for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
1. Mushroom And Onion Potato
- 4 potatoes, baked
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 16-ounce package of baby portabella mushrooms, stems removed
- ¾ cup red wine or grape juice (if you use grape juice, leave out the pinch of stevia)
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- Pinch of stevia
- 3/4 teaspoon arrowroot powder
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled, for garnish (optional)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives for garnish (optional)
- Slice mushrooms and onion into ¼ inch thick slices.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the wine, vinegar, sugar, and arrowroot powder.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the onion slices. Stir occasionally as onions cook for about 15 minutes or until browned.
- Add the minced garlic and mushroom slices; sauté until vegetables are tender.
- Pour in the red wine mixture and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes, or until liquid thickens into a syrup-like consistency.
- Stir in the parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Top each potato with one-fourth of the mushroom mixture and sprinkle with goat cheese and chives, if desired.
2. Veggie-Packed Breakfast Potato
- 1 potato, baked
- 1 egg, scrambled in coconut or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons organic, plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons fresh salsa
- ⅓ cup diced avocado
- 2 tablespoons shredded cheese
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Split open the baked potato and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Top with scrambled egg, cheese, avocado, salsa, and plain yogurt.
3. Tex-Mex Potato Skins
- 6 small potatoes, baked
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup corn kernels
- 1 ½ cups black beans, cooked and drained
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped (if you don’t care for cilantro, you can substitute parsley)
- 1 teaspoon dried chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- Minced cilantro or parsley for garnish
For the topping:
- In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, paprika, cumin, and cayenne.
- Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onion and garlic until onions are tender and translucent.
- Stir in the grape tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add the corn, black beans, remaining spices, salt, pepper, and cilantro. Cook for about 6 minutes and set aside.
For the potato skins:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil.
- Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Lightly brush the skins with olive oil, inside and out.
- Place the potatoes skin-side-up on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Turn potatoes over and bake for another 6 minutes, or until the edges are crisp and brown.
- Remove potato skins and top with the filling.
- Sprinkle skins with grated cheese and place them back in the oven for 1 or 2 minutes to melt the cheese. Remove and top with minced cilantro or parsley and serve hot.
As you can see, potatoes are a very versatile and delicious food!
Discover More Versatile, Bone-Healthy Foods
You’ll discover an amazing array of versatile foods in Bone Appétit, the companion cookbook to the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. With over 200 bone-nourishing recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, you’ll never run out of ideas for bone-smart eating.
Many recipes in Bone Appétit feature common foods in a new light, such as chickpeas as a base for a Chickpea “Tuna” Salad (page 38), or a Breakfast Risotto (page 18) featuring quinoa. How about cauliflower for breakfast in Faux Hash Browns (page 17), or Non-Dairy Chocolate Delish (page 129) as a dairy-free, bone-smart alternative to chocolate ice cream?
Eat Your Way to Stronger Bones!
Discover over 200 mouth-watering bone healthy recipes for breakfast, smoothies, appetizers, soups, salads, vegetarian dishes, fish, and plenty of main courses and even desserts!
With Bone Appétit, you’ll be astonished by the many bone-smart, creative dishes that build and renew your bones!
Till next time,