The Road to FISE and Health: Bag of Potatoes
November 7, 2020
Something dawned upon me yesterday while I was prepping my fourth 5 lb bag of potatoes. We had grabbed the bag on one of our grocery runs. I think this was from Vons, our local grocer. I had never purchased an entire 5 lb bag of potatoes in bulk before. It would spoil too quickly for me to be able to use it all. My mother-in-law and father-in-law often buy food in bulk including large sacks of onions and carrots, and seem to be always working with basic food ingredients. But for me, I had eaten plenty of potatoe containing foods but they were packaged in plastic and blasted with artificial flavors. The preservatives were likely palm-oil based and likely killed a poor orangatang due to displacement from palm oil plantations. Those packaged “potato” foods likely had the fiber processed out of it.
Over the last few months, I’ve learned how to work with a large bag of potatoes. I actually find it relaxing. I buy the bag when it’s on sale wherever we may be. I put it in the pantry (best to store in a cool place). And then through the week, I just prepare the potatoes whenever I have time and need to relax. I guess it’s called “food prepping” now. It’s fine to give new names to old things. It makes it more accessible to the next generation, just like “baby-led weaning.” Buying potatoes that are acutally unwashed is best as pre-washed ones can rot more quickly. Within the first few days of buying the potatoes, I’ll alternatively bake them or boil/blanch then into frozen home-made fries. Click here to read that post on the how- to https://drplasticpicker.com/the-road-to-fise-making-my-own-french-fries/ or just Ecosia (not Google) it as it’s really easy.
My motivation for making home-made fries and having baked potatoes on hand, was to reduce the plastic wrapped food in our house. What I didn’t realize, is that having a healthy staple ready to add to different dishes would result in us saving money, eat healthier, and being able to experiment with other foods.
For example, the home-made french fries are just potatoes precut into the desired size, boiled and then blanched. I freeze them for an hour on a baking sheet, and then reuse a bread bag to store our appropriate family portion of premade home-made fries. I just made a bag yesterday and it’s in the freezer. Since the fries are essentially done, whenever lunch time or dinner time hits and I want to be creative – I can pull out that bag and throw into the air fryer. I’ve just made the standard fries but with different fun seasonings, alternatively or sometimes in combination coarse sea salt, paprika, cumin, rosemary and sage, salt and pepper. One afternoon I wanted nachos for some reason, and realized topping the home-made fries with healtheir versions of a vegetable, protein or cheese was a big healthy hit with the kids.
Usually I’ll prep 10-15 potatoes at once, and I get bored with cutting fries after a time. When I’m already baking something in the oven like a pizza, I’ve washed and just thrown in some potatoes at the same time. Here is this morning’s baked potatoes that were baked yesterday.
When I do baked potatoes, I’ll leave 4 out to eat that same day. I’ll usually grab one for my own lunch to top with whatever is leftover in the fridge. I’ll leave 3-4 on the counter for the kids and let them have it for lunch. There is enough toppings and other things in the fridge that they’ll get creative with shredded cheese, sour cream, bacon bits, and hopefully some frozen veggies.
What I didn’t realize is that having potatoes that were already baked has been a catalyst for creativity. I make tilapia with our now standard lemon pepper seasoning from Costco, but oven-baked it over a bed of a garden bitter greens like kale and bordered it with the baked potatoes that were sliced. I added some curry flavor and salt and pepper for interest. It soaked up the flavor of the baked fish perfectly. I usually would have served the fish with rice or a pasta, but we already had the potatoes as the starch. I’ve been making more curry dishes. I love curry and we would often order take-out Indian food for curry when I got the hankering for it. But that always results is so much packaging trash and costs at least $50 a night. But now that I know how to make a basic curry, I just cube a few of the chilled baked potatoes to add to the curry and add in more veggies and whatever protein.
This burst of creativity with the potatoes has been wonderful. I may do more mashed cauliflower and mashed potatoes again, which is easier since I usually have potatoes on hand. Potatoe latkes. So many variations. And then when I had this realization, I remembered I had read this all in a book I had bought at the used book section of the library for $0.25. It’s from the Tightwad Gazette where Amy Dacyczyn (pronounced Decision) wrote a short article called the “Spudgate” or The Great Potato Conspiracy. She stated at the beginning of her article “we continue our series of investigative reports exposing the practice of the food industry to make inexpensive and healthful foods more expensive and less nutrition.” Page 185 of her bool.
Not only will eating baked potatoes and incorporating a real potatoe into a meal save you money and save the world unnecessary plastic, it is healthy! A potatoe is healthy! A McDonalds french fry, especially since it’s double fried, or even organic fancy Trader Joe’s potatoe chips are NOT.
Here is how beautiful a potatoe can be for your health. For a large potatoe, it has 6.6 grams of Fiber. “This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Manganese.” Read More https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2770/2. The key is to use the potatoe as your base, and build lean proteins and veggies around it.
And that is it. Dear Reader, you may have known about the “Spudgate” Conspiracy already. Indeed I had read about it multiple times years ago. I didn’t need to save money because of my high income which is why I didn’t think about it as much. But the plastic it averts and saving our health and stopping the constipation crisis and putting Miralax out of business, has been now the catalyst for us to join the wonderful world of bulk potatoe food preppers (or whatever we are calling ourselves these days).