If you come and stay a week at my house, one thing you will see is that my kitchen is known for Southern cookin’. And what would epitomize Southern cookin’ more than something as simple as butter stewed potatoes?
Potatoes are a simple staple in the diet of a Southerner, particularly if you look back in history here. In North Carolina, we love our potatoes. Sweet potatoes, in particular, are known to be a native crop to the area as the are grown in the costal plain region. They are even the official vegetable of North Carolina. How about them…taters! But that’s for another post. We’re here to talk about regular ‘ole potatoes…
These gems are grown across the state of North Carolina in over 18,500 acres for commercial sale, according to the Department of Agriculture. This equals roughly 23 million dollars of crop, ranking the state about 17th in the country for cash receipts of potatoes.
Not only do North Carolinians love their potatoes, but the country as a whole does — though the interest has somewhat declined over the last century. According the NC Department of Agriculture, the average person ate 198 pounds of potatoes per year…in 1910. In 1976, that number was down to about 125 pounds annually. But in recent years, that number has ticked back up again and in 1996 it had reached 140 pounds per year. They explain this trend based upon the lack of variety of foods more than a century ago. Think about it: you ate what you could grow or raise. Now, we go to the grocery store and can get just about anything we could imagine — and far more than our grandparents and great-grandparents could have dreamed of when they were growing up. Nowadays, it’s not just the plain ‘ole potato that we eat but also more refined products, like potato chips and frozen potato products, which contribute to these numbers, and explain the increase between 1976 and 1996. The NC Department of Agriculture offers a staggering statistic that 75% of North Carolina’s potatoes are made into potato chips.
There are three basic types of potatoes grown in North Carolina: the round white potato, the red potato and the yellow flesh potato.
- White potatoes: mixture of mealy and waxy; great for frying, boiling, grating for hashbrowns or potato cakes; used to make potato chips
- Red potatoes: also called “new potatoes” or “creamers”; have a waxy texture; great for salads; best for boiling, steaming, roasting, pan-frying
- Yellow flesh potatoes: perfect for mashing, baking and roasting
And they’re good for you! At least they are before you pile on the extra stuff. Let’s look at a raw medium potato (with skin) that weighs 213 grams (that’s roughly 7.5 ounces). Here are some of the highlights:
- Calories: 164 (that’s only 8% of your recommended daily intake, not bad for such a filling food), and of those less than 2 are from fat
- Protein: 4.3 grams — that’s 9% of your recommended daily intake
- Carbohydrates: 39.2 grams — 13% RDI
- Cholesterol: 0 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Vitamins: C with 42 mg (70%), K with 4 mcg (5%), Thiamin with 0.2 mg (11%), Niacin with 2.2 mg (11%), B6 with 0.6 mg (31%), Folate with 34.1 mcg (9%)
- Minerals: Calcium with 25.6 mg (3%), Magnesium with 49 mg (12%), Phosporous with 121 mg (12%), Potassium with 897 mg (26%), Copper with 0.2 mg (12%), Manganese with 0.3% (16%)
That looks like a pretty good all around food to me. Of course, you would not want this to be the only thing you eat but, you can certainly enjoy some good ‘ole potatoes. And I have a great, and slightly unhealthy way, for you to do that.
It is wonderful due to it’s simplicity and ease in assembly. And it is delightful, let me tell you! Here are the simple ingredients you need:
- Yukon potatoes — 4-5 will provide enough for 4 people
- Stick of butter
- Seasoning of your choice
To put it all together, here are the quick steps:
Peel and cut up your potatoes into chunks. Boil your potatoes for about 10-ish minutes, or until fork tender. Drain and return to your pan. Add your butter, let it melt and then gently mix in. Season as desired (I only added a little pepper). And enjoy!
How easy is that?? And it’s so good. Plus, because it’s so quick and easy, you’ll want to make it again. (I find those types of meals are quite attractive.)
How did it work for you when you tried it? What did you do to season up your potatoes?
My references for potato stats: