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Tater Talk April 2020

APRIL 2020

The effects of COVID-19 have significantly impacted the lives of everyone on a global scale. As social distancing continues to be encouraged and families are spending more time at home, coming up with new ways to feed your family has never been more challenging. Versatile and nutritious, potatoes can be incorporated into any meal, making them a great pantry staple. In this issue of Tater Talk, we’ve included tips on how to store potatoes to maximize their shelf life and two easy-to-make recipes using ingredients that may already be stocked in your kitchen. We hope these simple dishes will be a source of comfort during this difficult time.

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Keeping Potatoes Fresh 

During the week ending on March 15, potato sales in U.S. grocery stores were up more than 72%. Why? According to produce expert, Produce by Pamela at Blue Book Services, “people are filling their pantries for the long haul,” and potatoes have a relatively long shelf life. Here are a few tips to help keep your spuds fresh for as long as possible.

Keep Potatoes Cool but NOT Cold
Store your potatoes between 45 and 55°F and never put them in the refrigerator. If potatoes are stored below 41°F the starch will convert to sugar, which will cause them to have a slightly sweet taste and will negatively affect cooking performance. If potatoes are stored above 55°F they will dehydrate quicker (remember potatoes are about 80% water).

Don't Wash Yet
Store potatoes as purchased from the store, without washing yet. It is okay to store the potatoes in their retail bags; however, they will hold up a little better if you remove them from the bag and place in a well-ventilated basket or bowl, as this will allow the potatoes to "breathe" – ahhh!

Stay Away from the Light!
Potatoes are living organisms and can reproduce on their own. Light will actually help kick off this process and too much light (sunlight or indoor lights) over time will cause the potato skins to turn a greenish color; the potato may even begin to sprout from the little "eye" indentations. This is normal, but green skins will give the potatoes a bitter flavor. It’s still safe to eat the potatoes. Should they green-up or "come alive" (sprout), just peel off and discard any green peels and sprouts and prepare as desired.

Rotate your supply
FIFO means First In, first Out. Place fresher potatoes underneath your storage supply and rotate your older potatoes to the top to ensure you use your older supply before preparing newer potatoes. This will avoid potential food waste and save you money.

Handle with Care
Potatoes may appear rough and tough. However, they should be treated gently, as rough handling will cause bruising and cracking. Store them in a dry, cool place like a pantry or in a cupboard, rotate and keep protected or covered away from light, and wash just prior to preparation.

News

Kids' Activities on Our Website  

Looking for ways to keep the kids busy at home? The Idaho® Potato website offers activities that include building a virtual baked potato and downloadable one-sheets like word searches and mazes to keep children engaged while learning something new. For your budding chefs, we have a few kid-friendly Idaho® potato recipes that they can help prepare and eat! 

 

Home Fries

This comfort dish uses only five ingredients and pairs great with eggs in the morning or a protein of your choice for dinner. Made with Idaho® potatoes, butter, garlic, onion and paprika, these Home Fries can also be a substitute for meat in a burrito. Bookmark this recipe because we guarantee you’ll be making it a few times! 

For more simple Idaho® potato recipes visit the Idaho Potato® website.

Video


Mashed Potatoes & Macaroni

Comfort in a bowl, this Mashed Potatoes & Macaroni dish from food blogger Love Keil at Munchkin Time is creamy and delicious. Made with Idaho® potatoes, macaroni, butter, milk and seasonings, this cozy entrée is easy to make and great for lunch or dinner. 

To learn how to make this recipe and more Idaho® potato dishes visit the Idaho® Potato YouTube page. 

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Ask Dr. Potato

Q: When making baked potatoes in the oven, should I wrap them in foil?

A: Don’t wrap your potato in foil prior to baking; it will trap the potato’s natural moisture, steaming instead of baking it. This results in a soggy baked potato, not the fluffy baker we love. 

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