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Classic & Modern Quesadilla Recipes For National Quesadilla Day

How are you celebrating National Quesadilla Day, September 25th? We started with this fa href=”https://blog.thenibble.com/2017/05/03/recipe-fried-egg-quesadilla/”>fried egg quesadilla and for lunch the Peanut Butter & Jelly Quesadilla. For dinner, we’re heading to our local Mexican restaurant, where we’ve been eying the crab meat quesadilla. Will we be all quesadilla’d-out tomorrow? We don’t think so.

A quesadilla, from Mexico, is a type of soft taco. Traditionally a corn tortilla is used, but it can also be made with a flour tortilla (we prefer corn tortillas: much more flavor).

First and foremost, the tortilla is filled with cheese (queso Oaxaca), but not all regions focus on cheese (regional variations vary widely).

The quesadilla can also be filled with:

  • Cooked meats: beef, chicken, chorizo, pork. A tinga quesadilla refers to a meat mixed with a spicy tomato sauce
  • Cooked seafood: fish, crab, lobster, shrimp. .
  • Cooked vegetables: black beans, huitlacoche [corn fungus], mushrooms, potatoes, squash blossoms
  • Herbs (like epazote) and spices
  • Toppings: avocado/guacamole; chopped chiles, cilantro, onion, tomato; salsa; sour cream
  •  
    The tortilla is warmed on a griddle or stove so that it can be folded in half, and then filled. More heat melts the cheese.

    Contemporary quesadillas: More and more cooks like to make quesadillas with “modern” ingredients: caramelized onions, goat cheese, pizza fillings. See the “nouvelle” recipes below.

    Halloween quesadillas: Get ready for Halloween with Spokadillas, quesadillas designed to look like a mummy’s face (photo #3).

    Breakfast quesadillas with eggs, cheese and bacon are very popular in the U.S. And don’t forget dessert quesadillas: ice cream with chocolate, butterscotch or caramel sauce, fruits and whipped cream!
     
    There are more quesadilla recipes below, but we’re starting off with this fun fusion recipe. It merges two favorite American foods: Buffalo wings and quesadillas.

    > The history of the quesadilla.
     
     
    RECIPES: MINI BUFFALO CHICKEN QUESADILLAS

    This recipe (photo #4) makes mini quesadillas for snacks, cocktail bites and appetizers. You can make them regular size, of course.

    The recipe, from Kingsford Charcoal, is Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes.

    We really like blue cheese, so added blue cheese dressing for dipping.

    Another option would be hot salsa for dipping, to continue the hot sauce flavor of Buffalo wings. If you go this way, buy a jarred smooth salsa, easier for dipping.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons your favorite BBQ dry rub seasoning
  • 16 4-inch flour tortillas
  • 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup hot sauce
  • Canola cooking spray
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • Kingsford cherrywood charcoal briquets
  • Smoking wood or chips
  • Optional: blue cheese dressing for dipping
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the grill for medium-high heat cooking, approximately 400°F. Once the grill has come to temperature, add 1–2 chunks of your favorite smoking wood (alternatively you can wrap a handful of smoking wood chips in foil and poke several holes in the foil) to the charcoal briquets.

    2. SEASON the chicken thighs liberally on both sides with the dry rub. Place the thighs on the grill and cook for approximately 5 minutes per side until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F. Removefrom the grill and allow the thighs to rest for 5 minutes before finely chopping. As the chicken rests…

    3. COMBINE the blue cheese and mozzarella cheese in a medium bowl and blend well. Combine melted butter and hot sauce in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the chopped chicken to the hot sauce mixture.

    4. SPRAY one side of 8 flour tortillas with canola oil and place them oiled side down on a large platter or sheet pan. Top each tortilla with 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture. Add approximately ¼ cup buffalo chicken, 4–6 slices of bell pepper and another tablespoon of the cheese mixture. Top with the remaining flour tortillas and spray with canola oil.

    5. GRILL. Working in batches, grill the quesadillas for 3–4 minutes per side until they are lightly browned and the cheese has completely melted. Remove from the grill, cut into quarters and serve with the optional blue cheese dressing.
     
     
    MORE QUESADILLA RECIPES
    Apple Sweet Potato Quesadilla With Goat Cheese

  • Bobby Flay’s Ribeye & Anaheim Chile Quesadilla
  • Christmas Quesadillas
  • Fried Egg & Avocado Quesadilla
  • Peanut Butter & Banana Quesadilla With Fresh Fruit Salsa & Vanilla Yogurt
  • Quesadillas On The Grill
  • Spookadillas: Mummy Quesadillas For Halloween

  •  
    MODERN QUESADILLA FILLINGS

    You’ll get the idea from these recipes that you can put pretty much anything you like into a quesadilla.

    One trend is “pizzadillas,” quesadillas with pizza fillings. We’re down with an “everything” pizza quesadilla—including anchovies.

  • Bacon Cheeseburger Quesadillas
  • Texas BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadillas With Vinegar Slaw (photo #5)
  • Black Bean & Butternut Squash Quesadilla With Chipotle Lime Crema
  • Blackened Shrimp, Bacon and Green Onion Quesadilla
  • Butternut Squash, Leek & Apple Quesadillas
  • Crab and Avocado Quesadillas With Mango Salsa
  • Greek Quesadillas
  • Green Goddess Quesadillas
  • Margarita Pizza Quesadilla
  • Peach, Burrata, Bacon Quesadilla
  • Smoked Gouda Mushroom Quesadillas (photo #6)
  • White Bean & Kale Quesadillas (photo #7)
  •  


    [1] Surf and turf? Here, lobster quesadillas. In the next photo, steak quesadillas (photo © Mackenzie Ltd).


    [2] Flank steak quesadillas (photo © Kingsford Charcoal).


    [3] Mummy “spookadillas.” Here’s the recipe (photo © Pace | Campbell’s).


    [4] Fusion: mini Buffalo chicken quesadillas (photo © Kingsford Charcoal).


    [5] Fusion: Texas BBQ pulled pork quesadillas with vinegar slaw. Here’s the recipe (photo © Snixy Kitchen).


    [6] Different but delicious: peach, burrata and bacon quesadilla. Here’s the recipe (photo © Running To The Kitchen).


    [7] White bean and kale quesadilla. Here’s the recipe (photo © Running To The Kitchen).

     

     
     
      

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    Make This Horchata Recipe For National Horchata Day


    [1] Some liken horchata to drinking rice pudding (photo © Pampered Chef).


    [2] Sunbasket adds sesame seeds to its horchata. Here’s the recipe (photo © Sunbasket).


    [3] This recipe adds sesame seeds (photo © Sunbasket).


    [4] The original horchata was made thousands of years ago from tiger nuts. You can buy them online for horchata, snacking, salads and desserts (photo © Anthony’s Goods).


    [5] You can buy horchata ready-to-drink, made with almond milk or rice milk (photo © Califia Farms).

     

    September 24th is National Horchata Day, a refreshing drink courtesy of Mexico. It’s one of the more popular varieties of Mexican agua fresca.

    A classic, creamy drink, Mexican horchata is made with milk, ground rice, cane sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. You can make nondairy versions with your milk of choice.

    Brands like Almond Breeze and Rice Dream sell quarts of horchata, ready-to-drink. The history of horchata is below.
     
     
    USES FOR HORCHATA

    Horchata is an addictively delicious cold drink, but you can also warm it up to create a cup of hot milk with cinnamon-vanilla accents.

  • Dessert. Serve it as a drink with dessert, instead of coffee or tea. We love it with loaf cakes (pound cake, carrot cake, chocolate loaf) and with pastries.
  • Coffee. Make a blended drink with coffee.
  • Cereal. Add it to hot or cold cereal.
  • Cocktail. Turn it into a cocktail with rum or other spirit.
  •  
     
    RECIPE: HORCHATA

    This recipe requires the overnight soaking of rice. It makes 34 ounces of beverage. If you don’t have a 60-ounce pitcher, you can reduce the amount of water for a 32-ounce pitcher (and a slightly more concentrated flavor).
     
    Ingredients

  • 1 cup of white rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup sugar, depending on taste (we used 2/3 cup of sugar, and you substitute noncaloric sweetener)
  • 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1.5 cups milk, almond milk or rice milk
  • 4-1/4 cups water
  • Ice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the rice, almonds and cinnamon in a bowl of water. Soak overnight (or at least 5 hours) to slightly soften the rice.

    2. STRAIN and discard the water. Blend the rice mixture and evaporated milk in a food processor until the rice is completely ground.

    3. STRAIN into a pitcher. Add the sugar, vanilla, and milk. Mix well, then mix in the water. Chill and serve with optional ice.

     
    THE HISTORY OF HORCHATA

    We think of horchata as a creamy, refreshing drink from Mexico that tastes similar to rice pudding.

    But the first horchata, horchata de chufa* originated in North Africa around 2400 B.C.E., in the area of present-day Nigeria and Mali [source].

    The drink was originally made from dried, ground tiger nuts (chufa in Spanish, Cyperus esculentus), which were combined with water and sweetener, then filtered.

    The “horchata” portion of horchata de chufa derives from the Valencian dialect (a variant of Catalan), where it is called orxata de xufa. “Orxata” is a name given to various kinds of plant milk beverages [source].

    It was brought to Spain by the Moors in the 8th century, during the Muslim conquest†. It began to spread throughout Hispania (the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula and its provinces) in the 11th century, and became a popular drink.

    The drink spread from Spain to Mexico in the course of colonization.

    The Spanish didn’t bring tiger nuts with them to the New World, but they did bring rice. Hence, the genesis of horchata de arroz, flavored with New World cinnamon and vanilla (and in some regions, marigolds [source]).

    The more familiar Mexican version of modern times, horchata de arroz [rice], is made from rice milk, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar, and has a more milky texture. Other countries put their own spin on horchata. For example:

  • In Puerto Rico, horchata de ajonjoli is made with coconut milk, ground sesame seeds and rum.
  • El Salvador and Honduras make semilla de jicaro with licorice-flavored jicaro seeds (from a calabash that grows on a tree).
  • In Ecuador, horchata lojana is a red herbal tea made from flowers, but adds a similar mix of the herbs and spices that are used in other types of horchata [source].
  •  
    Today the beloved horchata flavor can also be found in baked goods (cake, churros, donuts), candies, chocolate, coffee and ice cream.

     
    ________________

    *Chufa refers to the tuber of the chufa plant, which can be roasted, made into flour, or turned into juice.

    †Muslim forces invaded Andalusia (southern) Spain in 711, and in seven years conquered the Iberian peninsula. The Muslim civilization in Iberia reached its peak in the 10th century. Muslim rule declined after that and ended in 1492 when Granada, the heartland of Muslim reign, was conquered by the forces of the [Catholic] king of Castile. This ended nearly eight centuries of Muslim rule.

     
     
      

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    Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara With Mushrooms For National Mushroom Month

    September is National Mushroom Month. We’ve put together some of our favorite mushroom recipes, below, as well as this yummy recipe for Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara With Mushrooms. The mushrooms substitute for the cured pork in the original recipe. Here’s the classic recipe, and the history of Spaghetti Carbonara recipe, which includes the history of Spaghetti Carbonara. International Carbonara Day is April 6th.

    The name “carbonara” comes from the carbonaro, Italian for “coal burner.” It was believed that the dish was created as a hearty, easy-to-make meal by men working outdoors for long periods, who used a coal burner to cook the dish.

    >Check out the different types of mushrooms.
     
     
    RECIPE: VEGETARIAN SPAGHETTI CARBONARA WITH MUSHROOMS

    This recipe from DeLallo is an evolution of Spaghetti Carbonara. It has carbonara’s sauce, which is made with mushrooms, eggs, butter, garlic, thyme, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. But it lacks the guanciale (pork jowl).

    You can add the meat, of choice. But it may be easier to use crisp bacon, which works beautifully with the mushrooms.

    The history of mushrooms is below.
     
     
    Ingredients

  • 1 package (16 ounces) spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 1 tablespoon fresh chopped for serving
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese plus more for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRING a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water.

    2. MELT the butter with the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the shallots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds.

    3. ADD the thyme sprigs and mushrooms to the skillet. Once the mushrooms are tender, about 4 to 5 minutes, remove the thyme sprigs and discard them.

    4. ADD the hot pasta to the skillet and toss to combine.

    5. WHISK together the eggs and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a mixing bow. Remove the pasta from heat and pour the egg mixture into the pasta, tossing quickly until the eggs thicken and create a sauce. Thin the sauce with a bit of the reserved hot pasta water, until it reaches your desired consistency.

    6. SEASON the carbonara with fresh pepper, salt and chopped thyme. Serve sprinkled with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

     
    MORE MUSHROOM RECIPES

    Before you dig in, here are some tips for cooking mushrooms.

  • Asparagus & Mushroom Pasta
  • Bacon-Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms
  • Baked Mushroom Parmesan
  • Breakfast Tarts With Mushrooms & Goat Cheese
  • Chanterelle Tacos
  • Different Stuffings For Portabellas
  • Egg & Mushroom Recipes
  • Green Bean & Mushroom Gratin
  • Grilled Eggplant, Mushrooms & Zucchini
  • Grilled Philly Mushroom Sandwich
  • Grilled Portabello First Course
  • Grilled Portabello Main Course
  • Grilled Portabello Mushrooms With Goat Cheese & Herb Salad
  • Mushroom And Smoked Salmon Frittata
  • Mushroom Carpaccio & Raw Mushroom Salad
  • Mushroom Fettuccine With Cremini, Morels & Shiitake
  • Mushroom Gravy
  • Mushroom Salad Recipes
  • Mushroom-Stuffed Cheeseburgers
  • Mushroom Toast
  • Mushroom Appetizers
  • Mushroom Bread Pudding
  • Portabella Burgers, Mains & Sides
  • Portabello Eggs Benedict
  • Portabella Steak & Salad
  • Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Shiitake Mushroom Veggie Burger & More Shiitake Recipes
  • Zucchini, Mushroom & Onion Side
  •  


    [1] Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara with mushrooms replacing the pork (photo and recipe © DeLallo).


    [2] Cremini mushrooms, also spelled crimini (photo © Christine Siracusa Wesusal | Unsplash).


    [3] Grated parmesan (parmesan is a generic Parmigiano-Reggiano. Here’s more about it (photo © DeLaurenti).


    [4] Add some shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano as a garnish (photo © Jen Segal | Once Upon A Chef [check out the great recipes).

    Fresh Thyme
    [5] Fresh thyme (photo © Good Eggs).


     
    THE HISTORY OF MUSHROOMS

    We’ll get to food mushrooms in a minute, but the earliest uses of mushrooms seem to be spiritual/religious. Long before written history, what we now call “magic mushrooms” were employed thusly. When writing records appear, we know that such mushrooms were considered sacred.

    Archaeological evidence of mushrooms used “spiritually” may be as old as 10,000 B.C.E. Mushroom grew around the world, and were use by the Chinese, the Mayas and the Vikings, as well as the Greeks and Romans. (But that’s another article for another publication) [source].

    Unlike plants, mushrooms (which are funghi) are very difficult to cultivate. Even today, relatively few of the 614 species of edible mushrooms can be cultivated (there are more than 10,000 species overall). Morels are an example of a desirable mushroom that cannot be cultivated commercially [source].

    Mushrooms have been foraged since prehistoric times. Skipping ahead to written history*, we know they were prized in ancient Greece and Rome. There is evidence that shiitakes were first cultivated in China and Japan as early as 600 C.E.

    Far earlier, the Chinese cultivated Auricularia polytricha, the cloud ear fungus, around 300 to 200 B.C.E.

    The cultivation of mushrooms in Western cultures was first recorded in Paris around 1650: Agaricus bisporus, white button mushroom. It seems very late, given how mushrooms took French cuisine by storm! The mushroom was first discovered growing wild in a melon crop compost!

    From France, mushrooms hopped the English Channel to England. By 1865, the U.S. began mushroom cultivation. In addition to the white button mushroom, two genetic variants of Agaricus bisporus appeared: the cremini/crimini and the portabello/portobello.

    In the U.S., the first known reference to mushrooms is in a 1824 cookbook, “The Virginia Housewife” (1824). Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, the American staple used in countless casserole recipes, was invented in the 1930 [source].

    One of the first English language mushroom cookbooks is One Hundred Mushroom Receipts by Kate Sargeant, published in 1899 (and available on Amazon). [source]

    Today the most commonly consumed variety is the button mushroom, that same Agaricus bisporus. It makes up about 40% of the mushrooms grown around the world. The name “mushroom” has been given to over 38,000 varieties of fungus that possess the same threadlike roots and cap. These threads, sometimes referred to as “gills,” are responsible for giving mushrooms like portobellos their meaty taste and texture. As air passes through the threads moisture evaporates, giving the mushroom a rich heartiness you can really sink your teeth into [source].

    ________________

    *The earliest form of writing appeared almost 5,500 years ago in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq).
     
     
      

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    30 Delicious Rice Recipes For National Rice Month


    [1] Black and white rice side dish (recipe and photo © Zavor America).

    Seafood Salad With Black Rice
    [2] Seafood salad atop black rice. Here’s the recipe (photo © DeLallo).

    Thai Rice Pudding
    [3] Thai rice pudding with mango ice cream. Here’s the recipe (photo © Briana’s Kitchen Creations [now closed]).

    Black - Purple Rice
    [4] Black pearl rice (photo by Hannah Kaminsky | © The Nibble).


    [5] Sushi made with black rice at Kodama Restaurant in New York City (photo © Kodama).

     

    September is National Rice Month (National Rice Day is June 29th, National Fried Rice Day is September 20th). Here’s a good-looking rice dish, called Black & White Rice. A combination of “black” and white rices, can make it with wild rice, which is dark brown, or black rice (also called forbidden rice*), which is cooks up to dark purple. The recipe follows; and there are more tasty rice recipes below.

    If you decide to purchase black rice, there are more ways to use it in the photos. Also see the footnote* below.

    > The Different Types Of Rice

    > The History Of Rice
     
     
    RECIPE: BLACK & WHITE RICE
    This recipe is made in a pressure cooker. Pressure cooking time is 25 minutes.
     
    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/3 cup wild rice or black (purple) rice
  • 3 cups water or broth/stock†
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1/4 cup onion or shallot minced
  • Optional: ¼ – ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups broth (substitute water)
  • Optional garnish: snipped chives or parsley, julienned basil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. RINSE and drain the wild rice. Place the wild rice in the pressure cooker with 3 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Lock the lid in place, bring to HIGH pressure, and cook for 18 minutes.

    If using black rice, add water or stock at a ratio of 1-3/4 cups per 1 cup of black rice. If your rice cooker has a brown rice mode, start it. Otherwise, set the timer to 25 minutes (additional information).

    2. RELEASE the pressure. Drain the wild rice, set aside and keep warm.

    3. HEAT the oil in the pressure cooker and stir in the white rice and onion. Sauté for a minute or two. Add the water or broth and optional salt . Lock the lid in place, bring to HIGH pressure, and cook for 7 minutes. Release the pressure. Stir in the reserved wild rice and serve.

    TO MOLD: To form the rice into an attractive square as in photo #1, or a circle, use a food mold. Remove the top and bottom from an empty can and use it as a round mold. A shorter can like tuna is easier to use.

     
    30 MORE RICE RECIPES
     
    Main

  • Asparagus Risotto
  • Bibimbap, A Korean Classic
  • Brown Rice & Black Bean Burrito
  • Butternut Squash Risotto
  • Congee For Breakfast, Lunch Or Dinner
  • Garden Greek Rice Salad
  • Mexican Chicken & Rice Soup
  • Mixed Seafood Salad On Black Rice
  • Paella On The Grill
  • Paella Valenciana & Paella Mixta
  • Potato & Chorizo Paella
  • Quick & Easy Paella
  • Quick-Cook Risotto
  • Red Rice & Sunchoke Grain Bowl
  • Stuffed Peppers
  • Wild Rice & Roasted Squash Grain Bowl
  •  
    Side

  • Americanized Fried Rice
  • Basmati Rice Salad With Prosciutto, Arugula & Fresh Orange
  • Bhutanese Red Rice Pilaf
  • Ginger Fried Rice
  • Layered Tricolor Rice Side
  • Green Tea Rice
  • Hoppin’ John
  • Moros y Cristianos, Cuban Rice & Beans
  • Pork & Apricot Fried Rice
  • Rice Cubes
  •  
    Dessert

  • Agua De Horchata (beverage)
  • Fruit Sushi
  • Layered Rice Pudding Bars
  • Rice Pudding Recipes
  •  
    ________________

    *Forbidden rice is black in color when raw, deep purple when cooked. It was once reserved for the ancient Chinese emperors, earning it the name “forbidden rice.” It has a deep, nutty taste—you can detect chocolate notes—and is high in fiber. It is rich in amino acids and high in vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium and magnesium. It pairs beautifully with all cuisines and can be enjoyed steamed plain, in a pilaf, stir-fried or with salad. It makes a spectacular Thai rice pudding with coconut milk. Unlike other black rices from Asia, “forbidden rice” is not glutinous or rough. An organic variety is available from Lotus Foods and other purveyors. According to Lotus Foods, a specialist in exotic rices, Chinese scientific research indicates that black rice is beneficial to the kidneys, spleen, stomach, eyes and blood circulation.

     
     
      

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    How To Store Potatoes For National Potato Month

    Quick tips for National Potato Month, September, on how to buy and store potatoes (National Potato Day is August 19th).
     
     
    HOW TO BUY POTATOES

  • FIRM. Choose potatoes that are firm, with smooth skin. Avoid potatoes that are too soft, greenish in color or have cuts, sprouts or blemishes. These are more likely to be bitter, and green-tinged potatoes and those that are sprouting can even be toxic.
  • SIZE. Choose potatoes that are uniform in size, so that they will take the same amount of time to cook when you prepare them.
  • RECIPES. Potatoes are cheaper when you buy more of them. If you think a large bag will be more than you can use, expand your potato repertoire: not just as a side dish but in potato soup, vegetarian curries and stews, potato pancakes and potato torta for brunch, and the always-popular potato salad. Treat yourself to a potato cookbook for ideas beyond baked, fried, mashed, etc.
  •  
     
    HOW TO STORE POTATOES

    Potatoes don’t go bad quickly, and can be stored for up to 6 months.

  • PLASTIC. Don’t store potatoes in airtight plastic bags. If they are sold in plastic, the bag should have cut-outs to enable breathing.
  • PAPER. If storing potatoes in paper bags, leave the bags open at the top to allow for easy breathing.
  • DARK. Store potatoes in a cool, dark and clean place or they will sprout more quickly.
  • MOISTURE. Avoid any extra moisture, but don’t store potatoes in a bone-dry place or they will start to lose their natural moisture and shrivel up.
  • NO FRIDGE. Don’t store raw potatoes in the refrigerator. When stored at temperatures below 40°F, the starch converts to sugar, and the moisture will cause sprouting.
  • NO LIGHT. Shield potatoes from light. When exposed to light, potatoes become green-tinged, which is a sign of chlorophyll and toxic alkaloids (see the next section).
  • NOT TOO COLD. When potatoes are stored too long in a too-cold environment (below 40°F), the starches convert to sugar. This not only makes for an overly-sweet potato but also alters the cooking chemistry, resulting in uneven cooking performance and discoloration.
  • SEPARATE. Don’t store potatoes near onions. Proximity to onions causes potatoes to sprout more quickly.
  •  
     
    DON’T EAT POTATOES THAT HAVE TURNED GREEN

    Potatoes that have developed green coloration may be harmful.

    Potatoes exposed to excess light may turn a greenish hue on its skin, flesh or sprout. This is due to the development of solanine, a glycoalkaloid. It is a natural toxin present in potatoes, but extra light causes it to grow to dangerous proportions.

    Solanine may upset the digestion and cause discomfort—or worse. Solanine that is consumed in high quantities can lead to paralysis [source].

    Cooking a green potato does not make it safe. While you can can usually cut away the green portion and safely eat the remainder, the potato can bitter. It’s best to toss it.
     
     
    COOKING POTATOES

  • SKINS ON. Potatoes are easier to prepare and healthier to eat when their skins are left on.
  • SOAK & SCRUB. Potatoes are typically washed before they are shipped to be sold, but should be washed again before food preparation. Soak potatoes in cool water to loosen the dirt; then scrub them gently with a vegetable brush or sponge. Trim away any eyes or blemishes.
  • DON’T FREEZE. Freezing cooked potatoes is usually not a good idea. Since potatoes are 80% water, they become watery and grainy when reheated. Manufacturers of prepared potatoes have methods to circumvent this, but a home freezer can’t.
     
     
    POTATO NUTRITION

    Potatoes contain many essential nutrients. The skin of the potato contains half of the fiber; more of the nutrients are found within the potato itself.

    Because potatoes are high in carbohydrate, there is a misconception that they are fattening*. However, the calories come from the ingredients with which the potatoes are prepared—butter and cooking oil, sour cream and gravy.

  • ANTIOXIDANTS. Potatoes contain phytochemicals like carotenoids that help protect cells in your body from damage.
  • FIBER. A medium potato has 2 grams of fiber, representing 8% of your daily recommended amount.
  • IRON. With only 6% of the daily recommended amount of iron, potatoes aren’t known for their iron content. Still, it’s a contributing nutrient that keeps you healthy, and every little bit counts.‌
  • POTASSIUM. A medium potato with the skin provides 620 milligrams of potassium. In fact, it’s considered one of the most potassium-rich foods available as one serving of potatoes provides 18% of the daily recommended amount of potassium.
  • VITAMIN B6: A medium potato offers 10% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin B6.
  • VITAMIN C: You may think of orange juice when it comes to vitamin C, but it’s time to rethink. Potatoes have 45% of your daily recommended amount of Vitamin C.
  •  
     
    > TYPES OF POTATOES

     
     
    > POTATO HISTORY
     
     
    SWEET POTATOES: DISTANTLY RELATED

    There are many different shapes, sizes and colors of sweet potato: orange, purple, red and tan varieties can be found. However, none of them is related to the white potato, or to the African yam.

  • The sweet potato diverges from the sweet potato at the family level, Solanales
  • The taxonomy of the white potato: class Magnoliopsida, order Solanales, family Solanaceae, genus Solanum, species: S. tuberosum.
  • The taxonomy of the sweet potato differs at the family level: class Magnoliopsida, order Solanales, family Convolvulaceae, genus Ipomoea, species, I. batatas.
  • The yam has comes from a completely different class and order: class Liliopsida,
    order Dioscoreales, family Dioscoreaceae, genus Dioscorea. There are some 600 species of yam.
  •  
    National Sweet Potato Day is February; Sweet Potato Awareness Month is November.

     


    [1] Russet potatoes, the standard for baked potatoes and French fries.


    [2] Tricolor baby potatoes. Baby potatoes are new potatoes—potatoes harvested when immature. They are not the same as creamer potatoes, which are smallest variety of potato and more flavorful (photo © Recipes Worth Repeating).


    [3] Yukon Gold potatoes (photo © Bonnie Plants).


    [4] Purple Peruvian potatoes (photo © Mona Makela | iStock Photo).


    [5] All-purpose white potatoes (photo © International Potato Commission).


    [6] Sweet potatoes are different from white potatoes, and completely unrelated from yams. See the explanation at the end of the article.

     
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    *A medium baked potato has 161 calories. Skip the butter and sour cream and season with nonfat plain Greek yogurt, fresh-cracked pepper and snipped chives. It’s just as delicious and you’ve only added 20 more calories.
     
     
      

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