Potatoes-What to buy, how to store and bake them. Do not store them in the refrigerator! I will tell you why.
How to you buy and bake those beautiful light fluffy baked potatoes? It is so simple but important to take these steps
1- The most important step is to buy #1 Russet BURBANK potatoes grown in Idaho. Idaho because with higher altitudes and cooler nights the conditions are ideal to grow the best potatoes.
Burbank potatoes are dryer and bake up light and fluffy not soggy. They are also whiter. They are a much different potato than the Russet Norkotah so do not mix them up. Burbanks are harder to find because that is what all the first rate restaurants buy for their baked potatoes.
Farmers like to raise Norkotahs because they are heavier and prettier so they make good money off of them by the pound.
2- Store your potatoes in a dark cool place. About 40 degrees is best. Do not store them in the refrigerator BECAUSE potatoes are a living organisms and need to breathe. When they are stored in the big storage buildings they pump oxygen into them all the time. If they are stored in the refrigerator with not enough oxygen to speak of they go into shock and turn the starch to sugar and then you have a much different potato. You are also getting too much light on your potatoes in the fridge as you open the door. store them in a place like a cool garage or root cellar or in the coolest place you can 35 degrees or more .Do Do not freeze them. They need humidity too, but not water. They will rot in water. A cardboard box with holes in it or a mesh bag or racks are great but they must be dark. If they are not kept dark then they will turn green and bitter and not good for you. If it is green you might as well throw the whole potato away. sort them occasionally to throw out any rot if you keep them for long. Some potatoes are treated so they won’t rot easily now.
3-Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Prepare your potato to bake by just simply washing it. If you like a crisp skin then don’t oil it or salt it just keep it as it is. Wash all the dirt off but not the skin.
4-Prick the potato with a fork. You should give it three deep pricks. If you forget to do this then it will explode in your oven (been there, done that a few times). Some people cut the ends off but that spoils the looks and how it will open up when it is done. Microwaving them will not give you the same effect but a Russet Burbank will be a lot better than the other types of potatoes for microwave baking.
5-Bake it at 400 degrees in the oven for one hour. That is long enough for a big #1 potato which is about 6″ long and 8 1/2″ around. Your altitude may make a difference too as well as the size. You can also buy Russet Burbank “bakers” they are about twice the size of the regular no.#1 potato. Of course you would bake them longer and you will probably end up cutting them in half to serve them. they are impressive though.
Potatoes are great as a base for chili or broccoli cheese soup. there are so many different ways to do a “potato bar” they are versatile and healthy and delicious. The favorite is always butter and sour cream with some chives and bacon bits on top. Oh, and they are so good in soups and stews. They are wonderful mashed and served with gravy mmmmm. You will always have the best results with a Russet Burbank with almost anything you serve but you especially want Burbanks if you are going to bake them.
Where did I learn so much about potatoes. My husband and I both grew up on Idaho potato farms and ate them at almost every meal and loved it. My husband is an expert on potato storage. He developed some great methods for lengthening the life of stored potatoes (ways to increase the air and the humidity. He was one of the top potato storage builders (big steel buildings the size of a football field) in the Northwest and also built storage units in other states and countries. He is a walking encyclopedia on potatoes.
Have you read http://www.potatogoodness.com/nutrition/nutritional-facts/e label lately?
One medium-size potato has just 110 calories and is absolutely fat-, sodium and cholesterol free, making them downright undeniable for any diet. The power of the potato doesn’t stop there.
Potatoes are a good source of potassium…more potassium than a banana.
One medium potato with skin provides 620 milligrams or 18% of the recommended daily value (DV) per serving. Potatoes rank highest for potassium content among the top 20 most frequently consumed raw vegetables and fruits. Potassium is a mineral that is part of every body cell. It helps regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of cells and in doing so, helps maintain normal blood pressure. Potassium is also vital for transmitting nerve impulses or signals, and in helping muscles contract.
Potassium is a powerful dietary factor that may help lower blood pressure. Unfortunately, few Americans are getting the recommended 4700 milligrams per day of potassium they need. (Potatoes make it easier!)
Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C (45% of the DV), which is more vitamin C than one medium tomato (40% DV) or sweet potato (30% DV
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant stabilizing free radicals, thus helping prevent cellular damage. It aids in collagen production; assists with iron absorption; and helps heal wounds and keep your gums healthy. Vitamin C may help support the body’s immune system.
One medium potato with the skin contributes 2 grams of fiber or 8% of the daily value per serving.
Dietary fiber is a complex carbohydrate and is the part of the plant material that cannot be digested and absorbed in the bloodstream. Soluble fiber may help with weight loss as it makes you feel full longer, and research has shown it also may help lower blood cholesterol.
Potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6 with one medium potato providing 10% of the recommended daily value.
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays important roles in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. It helps the body make nonessential amino acids needed to make various body proteins; it is a cofactor for several co-enzymes involved in energy metabolism; and is required for the synthesis of hemoglobin – an essential component of red blood cells.
One medium potato provides 6% of the recommended daily value of iron.
Iron is a major component of hemoglobin that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. Iron also has a critical role within cells assisting in oxygen utilization, enzymatic systems, especially for neural development, and overall cell function everywhere in the body. Thus, iron deficiency affects all body functions, not only through anemia, which appears late in the process of tissue