Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Purple Potato Eater

I feel very lucky to be living in a place where I can get fresh and local produce at the Farmer’s Market in the middle of February. Vendors at the Bellingham Farmer’s Market have come together under the cover of Market Pavilion to offer us the fruits of their winter labor. Greens, leeks, Brussels sprouts and beets are just a few of the goods on display. There are also fresh cheeses, mushrooms and bread tempting your taste buds and making you indifferent that summer is months away.

Roasted purple potatoes with garlic.
One of my produce picks at Saturday’s market was a pound of purple potatoes. I have never cooked with these medium-starch potatoes. Cutting into them, they look like an exotic fruit, leaking colorful juices as the knife pierces through.

Purple potatoes provide four times the amount of antioxidants as the average white potato. They are high in the antioxidant, anthocyanin, which is the same flavonoid that is found in red and purple produce such as berries and pomegranates. Studies have shown anthocyanins to slow the growth of cancer cells, protect against heart and neurological diseases, strengthen the immune system and lower blood pressure. Not bad for a tuber the size of a golf ball.

Be kind when cooking purple potatoes because their skin is very delicate, and leave the skin on to gain the maximum nutritional benefits. Try them baked, grilled, roasted and mashed. Use them to brighten up soups and salads. Make home fries and hash. The purple potato possibilities are endless!

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