Food, Potatoes, Tater Talk

Peculiar Potatoes Not Found in Your Local Piggly Wiggly

Once upon a time, I had a brother-in-law named Geoff that loved growing strange kinds of fruits and vegetables. (Well actually, he still does it but for story telling purposes, I’ll keep the wording). Any kind of strange fruit or vegetable you could think of has probably grown in his garden. This has included but is not limited to: purple carrots, purple cauliflower, dragon tongue beans, and tomatillos. I swear these are all real.

Every year for the past three Christmases, he has given us strange seeds with specific growing instructions to follow once spring hits. Thanks to him, my attention has been called to a whole new world of potatoes that not even my wildest dreams could imagine. He hasn’t given me potato seeds yet for Christmas, but I’m hopeful. *hint hint*

While you won’t necessarily find these in your local Piggly Wiggly (not to leave out Pick N’ Save, Festival Foods, Jewel Osco, Kroger, and Wal-Mart), they do exist and deserve the proper attention that all potatoes need. If you’re intrigued, you’ll probably have to grow them to find out just how great they are. You should consult Geoff on the whole growing part though on his blog The Four Season Gardener.

Now, the moment you have all been waiting for!

All Blue Potatoes

Purple skin and blue flesh equals the prettiest of all potatoes. This potato, I’m told, is great mashed because of its meaty insides. They can also be made as baked potatoes and french fries. Online reviews tell me that they’re incredibly flavorful, and some even go as far as saying they are the best potatoes they’ve ever tasted. Unfortunately, it will turn pale when cooked. Why must heat ruin a good thing?




Russian Banana Fingerling Potatoes

This particular potato wins the peculiar potato award for best name ever. The skin of the Russian Banana Fingerling potato is smooth, waxy, and the color of a good pair of khakis. When used, the skin is rarely peeled because of its thinness. Interestingly enough, these tubers are part of the nightshade family. Also included in the nightshade family are eggplants and petunias. These potatoes must have interesting family reunions! If you find these milling about in your kitchen, they can be grilled, baked, steamed, fried, or boiled. They have even been used as a pizza topping because of their tenderness.

P.S. They are from the Baltic region, and Russian sailors brought them to North America at the ports of Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and British Columbia. Thanks for blessing us with more taters.

All Red Potatoes

With cranberry-red skin and rose colored swirls, these potatoes could be a work of art. Great boiled, steamed, roasted, or scalloped, these potatoes will dress up any kind of dish you make. They even hold their color when cooked! Bonus right?? If you’re growing them, I even hear that they’re resistant to droughts and scabs. This potato is more technologically advanced than I am. We should all give it the respect it deserves.

Ever had an even stranger type of potato? Leave it in the comments below and it could be featured in a future post!


Food, Potatoes

5 Tuber Tidbits You Probably Didn’t Know

As we’ve established, I love potatoes more than most humans. Do you really know who they are, though? I figured if me, the potato connoisseur, had never heard of these amazing facts, they were worth passing along! Since you’re probably all dying of curiosity, here they are:

 1. Potatoes were the first vegetable to be grown in space! Due to a partnership formed between NASA and the University of Wisconsin (!) – Madison, seed potatoes were  tested in space in 1995 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. NASA technology and a Chinese potato growing  technique paired up to grow Quantum Tubers. This advanced method can produce a crop of mini-tubers every  40 to 50 days, rather than taking a year to grow. One facility can produce 10 to 20 million mini-tubers a year!

2. The average American eats about 124 pounds of potatoes per year, while Germans eat about twice as  much. My German heritage probably plays an integral part in why I consume more potatoes than the average bear, and the average American.

3. The original potato chips were probably made by mistake. Before the year 1853, the world was a sad, sad place. In 1853, it is rumored that Chef George Crum created potato chips in a move to spite railroad mogul Cornelius Vanderbilt. As the story goes, Vanderbilt disliked thick-cut potatoes. One day, he decided to send his thickly cut potatoes back to the kitchen. In the midst of his annoyance with this move, Crum thinly sliced the potatoes, fried them in oil, and sent them back out to Vanderbilt. Supposedly, Vanderbilt loved them, which led to the eventual popularity of chips today.

4. Sweet potatoes are no potatoes at all. If there was ever a reason to dislike sweet potatoes even more, I believe I just found it. Sweet potatoes are actually part of the morning glory family, and are just swollen roots. They bear no relation to the actual potato, making them gross liars.

5. If you ever needed more of a reason to love potatoes, they are good for more than just eating. Rumor has it that by carrying a potato with you , you could prevent rheumatism AND soothe a toothache. They can also heal broken bones, ease frostbite, and clear up blemishes on people’s skin. People have even used potatoes to tell time, based upon how long the root took to cook. Potatoes are amazing in every way, hands down.