The potato is a starchy tuberous crop. It is the world's fourth largest crop following rice, wheat, and maize. There are about 5000 potato varieties worldwide. The potato was first domesticated in the region of modern day Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia between 8000 and 5000 BCE. What we call sweet potatoes today actually are members of another family of plants and the yam is also different from the sweet potato.
The red potato is one of the types of potatoes. There are several varieties of the red potato. The red potato known as the Dakota Chief is a red skinned early crop potato variety originally bred in the U.S. and sold in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Algeria, the Philippines, Venezuela, and Urguay. It is also known as the Red Pontiac potato. Other red varieties include the Red La Soda, Red Norland, and Rooster potato.
One of my first jobs in the grocery business was to remove eyes from potatoes. It was at my grandfather's store where the potatoes would come in fifty pound bags. If they were around a little too long the potatoes would start to sprout. I would be assigned to "knock" the eyes off the potatoes to prepare them for display. I was ten years old at the time, but many years later as a supermarket produce manager I was still knocking eyes off the potatoes when necessary.
The red potato can be used in recipes for baking, boiling, mashing, roasting, or in salads, and can be cooked in the microwave, and also sauteed or in soups. Red potatoes may be cooked with the skins on and should be scrubbed and rinsed before preparation. Because of their waxy texture, the flesh of the red potato stays firm through the cooking process. Their thin yet vibrant red skin adds appealing color and texture to side dishes and salads.
A medium red skinned potasto supplies 34 grams of carbohydratye. Dietary fiber accounts for 3 of these grams. Fiber helps regulate digestion, prevents constipation and diarrhea, may lower cholesterol, and blood sugar, and helps you feel full after eating. The majority of the rest of the carbohydrates in red potatoes come from starches.
Red potatoes also provide a variety of vitamins including vitamin C, vitamin B6, niacin, and folate. Red potatoes provide minerals including magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and manganese. It also provides a good source of potassium.
Red skinned potatoes are mostly available in the late summer and early fall.
Selecting and Storing:
Potatoes should be firm with relatively smooth skin and good color. Look for only a few eyes with no cuts, dark or soft spots, and no wrinkled or wilted skin. Green skin indicates the potato has been exposed to light. Cut away the green and knock off the eyes when preparing. Potatoes like cool temps (45 to 50 degreesF. Refrigeration, however, can turn starch into sugar and may darken the potatoes when cooked. Potatoes are best kept in the coolest, nonrefrigerated part of the house, away from light and well ventilated.
So..... Eat up! Enjoy! I'll show you how.
Simple but Good:
Garlic Red Potatoes
2 lbs. red potatoes, quartered
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 lemon, juiced
1 TBS Parmesan cheese
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place potatoes in 8in. by 8 inch baking dish.
In a small bowl combine melted butter, garlic, salt, and lemon juice. Pour over the potatoes, and stir to coat. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the potatoes.
Bake covered in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown.