Friday, September 18, 2015

In Praise of the Purple Potato

I've mentioned before how much I love purple potatoes, but, since it is officially time to plant your fall and winter crop, I wanted to encourage my readers to think about ordering some purple potatoes.  Several reasons you might enjoy this fun crop:

  1. Most, if not all, purple potatoes maintain their color even after they are cooked. What this means is that you have a chance to make lavender mashed potatoes if you have a picky eater who would enjoy something different.
  2. Every variety of purple potatoes I've tried is excellent for boiling. For some reason, I'm never satisfied with boiling the traditional russet potato you can get in the grocery store; that's a baking potato, to me. The purple potatoes boil up soft, but their flesh retains its integrity for a wonderful mouth feel. Again, this is ideal for those of us who are picky eaters and have trouble with some textures.
  3. Purple potatoes get their color from the phytochemicals that make foods blue. This is fairly rare in the plant kingdom; blueberries are one of the few other foods that have these chemicals. While I won't swear that you have to eat a certain number of blue foods, this is one way of getting those colorful plant chemicals into your diet. Can't hurt, might help.
  4. Potatoes will grow over the winter. They need a little TLC to get started, so be sure to green chit them before you plant them. (Put them under a strong light or in a window until they start to sprout, then bury them.) But you can definitely grow these over the winter in a large container, and they'll probably be your first crop to harvest next spring.
  5. Harvesting purple potatoes is like an Easter egg hunt for grown ups! (And for your little gardeners, too.) The purple flesh is easy to see when you dump the container and start pouring through the dirt, and there is something fun about having a basketful of these colorful potatoes ready for your evening dinner.
What unique veggies are going into your fall garden?
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