We’ve already shared with you our love of sweet potatoes, but we don’t want regular potatoes to feel left out—they have so much to offer! While the carb-phobic may tell you that potatoes are a starchy enemy, the truth is that they actually have a lot of nutritional value. Just leave the skin on! One medium baked potato, with the skin, is an excellent source of potassium, vitamin B6 and immune boosting vitamin C. Plus, that one potato is a good source of dietary fiber, the B vitamins niacin and folate, and the minerals iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorous. Plenty to love about the lowly potato!
We grow potatoes in our garden at the Barn by planting the eyes sprouting from aged potatoes. Potatoes are easy to grow and make the perfect garden activity for kids because the eyes are easy to handle (especially for ages 3-5). It’s even more fun for the kids to harvest them because “it’s like digging for gold.” We plant them in the spring and then harvest them at the end of summer or early in the fall. Like most root vegetables, harvested potatoes will last through the winter if kept in cold storage. Potatoes come in a huge number of varieties, from the common russet, to the creamier Yukon Gold, to the wide array of small and flavorful potatoes like fingerlings. We grow Yukon Gold and have experimented with French Fingerlings and Adirondack Blue varieties. We always order our potato eyes from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Make sure to order soon because they sell out early and ship by March.
Many people associate potatoes with high calorie foods like French fries and mashed potatoes, but there are plenty of healthier, delicious ways to prepare potatoes as well. As a substitute for fries, potatoes can be cut into thin wedges and baked with salt and olive oil. Or you can lighten up the traditional mashed potatoes with a mixed root veggie mash (think turnips and parsnips and carrots!) and go light on the butter or olive oil. The veggies usually have enough flavor on their own! A popular dish with families at HealthBarn USA is the Mini Potato Leek Frittata, from Appetite for Life. These frittatas are muffin-sized, so they’re perfect for smaller appetites. They’re not just for breakfast, either! They make a great snack or a light lunch served alongside a green salad.
Mini Potato Leek Frittata
from Appetite for Life, by Stacey Antine, MS RD
Eggs aren’t just for breakfast anymore. These little frittatas have a big taste and are more than a Sunday morning favorite; leftovers (if you have any) are great for lunch and dinner any day of the week. Savor our seasonal combination of veggies, herbs, and cheese and boost your immune system with vitamin C at the same time.
½ pound baby Yukon Gold potatoes or whatever baby potato you like, unpeeled
¼ teaspoon sea salt, divided
2 medium leeks (1 pound), tough green tops trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 large eggs
10 large egg whites
½ cup low-fat (1%) milk
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup shredded low-fat Swiss cheese (1.5 ounces)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- Preheat oven to 375˚F. Grease 12 muffin cups.
- Cut potatoes into ½-inch chunks. In a medium saucepan, place potatoes, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and enough water to cover; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes to partially cook potatoes (a fork should be able to go through them). Drain potatoes in a colander and set aside to cool.
- Cut leeks lengthwise in half and clean thoroughly under cold running water. Pat dry, then slice crosswise into ¼-inch slices. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat; add leeks and cook until fragrant and wilted, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool.
- Into a large bowl, carefully crack eggs. Add egg whites, milk, pepper, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, and whisk until mixed. Add cooled leeks, potatoes, cheese, and herbs and fold ingredients together until combined.
- Ladle the frittata mixture evenly into prepared muffin cups (filling will come almost to the top). Set the pan in the middle of the oven. Bake for 14–16 minutes or until egg mixture puffs up and knife inserted in frittatas comes out clean. Cool for 1 minute then loosen edges of frittata with a sharp knife and scoop them out of the pan one by one. (They will deflate somewhat after cooling.)
- Serve the frittatas warm or at room temperature.
Makes 12 servings (1 frittata per serving)
Nutrition Facts per serving: 80 calories; 2.5g fat (0.5g sat fat, 1g mono, 0g trans fat); 50mg cholesterol; 6g carbohydrate (1g fiber, 2g sugar); 6g protein; 90mg sodium; 8% Daily Value (dv) vitamin A; 10% dv vitamin C; 6% dv calcium; 4% dv iron
Do you grow potatoes? Share a fun story with us. What’s your favorite way of preparing potatoes?