Tennesseetransitions


One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Four
March 2, 2012, 10:02 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

Michael and I have a favorite saying that refers to how abundant something is in our lives: we call that usually temporary situation as being ‘rich’. For example, in August, we’re always ‘tomato rich’. In the fall, we’re usually ‘firewood rich’. Today, I am ‘potato rich’. We ran out of our homegrown potatoes from 2011 in January,  (Note to self: Grow more this year!) so we bought a 50 lb bag at a local store for about $15.00. They weren’t ‘GRADE A’ or whatever perfect, similar sized potatoes are graded. But that was so much cheaper than the 10 lb bags we were seeing elsewhere for over $5.00 a bag, and since they keep so well when stored in the NE corner of our dirt floored basement-turned-root-cellar, we bought the bigger bag. We’re about a third of the way through that bag now, maybe more. But yesterday we found a 50 lb box of perfect, but odd sized potatoes at the discount grocery store for $8.99! So we bought that too. Then today I stopped at the Farm and Garden store and purchased our annual supply of seed potatoes for planting on St. Patrick’s Day, our traditional day to plant “IRISH” potatoes <wink> The price for all varieties of seed potatoes has been 50 cents a pound for many years, but this year they were 65 cents a pound, a 30% increase! When I inquired why, I was told that many potato crops were lost last year due to flooding, and that the Red Pontiac crop was a total loss. No denying it, our weather patterns are changing and crop failures will become more frequent as farmers and gardeners adjust to new normals. And no doubt about it, red potatoes will be pricier this year because of those failures.

Speaking of changing weather patterns… did you know that we here in NE TN are now considered part of Zone 7A, rather than the 6B we used to be? The USDA Hardiness Zones are based on the average minimum temperature for each zone. Things are warming up it seems. Even the USDA is recognizing that with this new map. http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/#    Just sayin’…

Regardless of planting zones or dates, ‘taters are a mainstay for many in the world and for us,  they’ll be an almost daily part of our diet until they’re gone. There are so many different ways to prepare them that we won’t tire of them. This week we’ve enjoyed Good Shepard’s Pie (thus called because a ‘good’ Shepard doesn’t eat his sheep!) with a 2″ layer of mashed potatoes on top, baked potatoes cooked in the hot coals of the woodstove, and tonight we enjoyed “Tex-Mex Potatoes”, a spicy main dish perfect for vegetarians, since it includes beans, corn, tomatoes, onions and salsa. Tomorrow we’ll have ‘Garden Potato Medley” which is another main dish that uses the abundance of kale we have growing in the greenhouse. (Did I mention we’re also kale rich right now?) And when the cold weather returns on Sunday, I plan to make a pot of potato soup. We will have eaten a variety of delicious, healthy meals this week for just a few dollars, and we’ll still have lots of ‘taters left when we return from our upcoming trip to California. Those will keep with no problems until our own homegrown ones are harvested. The secret to long term potato storage seems to be dark, cool and single layers. Grape boxes are perfect storage boxes for them, just ask someone in the produce department at your favorite grocery store for one-or ten-if you’re planning on becoming ‘potato rich’ too!

Here’s the point of all this ‘tater talk’: Food is one of the few areas in my life that I have control over. Being open to substitutions and bulk buys, eating seasonal, local foods, eating my way through abundance, doing without when things are scarce and eliminating food waste keeps my food bills low and encourages me to find new ways to use healthy, basic foods throughout the year. Here’s a recipe you might enjoy:

Boxty (Irish Potato Griddle Cakes)- a good use for leftover mashed potatoes

Ingredients:
1/2 pound raw potato
1/2 pound cooked mashed potato
1/2 pound plain flour
Milk (as needed, see directions)
1 egg
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Grate raw potatoes and mix with the cooked mashed potatoes. Add salt, pepper, onion and flour. Beat egg and add to mixture with just enough milk to make a batter that will drop from a spoon.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a hot griddle or frying pan. Cook over a moderate heat for 3-4 minutes on each side.

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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

one warm winter does not make climate change a reality….GOD is still in charge….wish i could barter you for some home grown kale…..hahaha

Comment by debbie

I’d trade you some kale for some of that homemade pepper sauce! Next time we see one another, ok?

Comment by simpleintn

Yikes..didn’t know our zone had changed. Thanks, Sam. Do you also grow sweet potatoes?

Comment by balancingpro

No, I don’t grow sweets, Michael doesn’t like them (“you ain’t from around here, are ya boy?”) and they have such a long growing season that it just doesn’t work for me to take up garden space for them. But I bought a whole 42 lb case last fall at the Farmer’s Market in Asheville for $15. They were grown in Mississippi, so I considered them ‘almost’ local. That said, if you know where I might get some really local ones this fall, I’d love to know where! Do you grow them?

Comment by simpleintn

Boxty (bacstaí or arán bocht tí in Irish meaning “poor house bread”)- from Wiki.

Since I don’t have kitchen scales, I went in search of recipes to find out a measurement I could use (besides equal amounts of grated raw potato, mashed potato and flour)…
so I found this, just for illumination:

8 oz. = 1 cup (liquid?) according to my measuring cup, but one recipe states (regarding the flour)”
“8 ounces (225 grams/ generous 1 1/2 cups) white flour” Does that agree with the amount you use, Sam?

I do think I’m going to try making these! Sounds yummy!

Thanks,
Ellie

Comment by Ellie Hjemmet

Ellie, 1/2 lb flour is ABOUT 1 3/4 cups, so your estimate of 1 1/2 cups is right on. I’d start with that and see if they hold together well. And I’ll try to watch any future recipes that use ozs and lbs vs cup measurements. Sorry about that!

Comment by simpleintn




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