It is interesting to find out how much your children listened to you when they were younger and what they remember when they are all grown up. I was visiting with my daughter the other day and she was telling me that when she peels her potatoes to make mashed potatoes, she saves the peelings and dices them up to make hash browns. What a great idea! So what was it that I told her?
When she was younger I told her a story about Russians that were dying during a famine in the early 1900’s. Food was extremely scarce and many of the people existed on a diet of potatoes. In preparing the potatoes the mothers would peel them and boil them up for the children. The parents would then eat the leftover potato skins for their sustenance. But then something odd happened – the parents stayed healthier than the children.
Come to find out a good share of the nutrition in a potato is in the potato skin. If you are only eating the inside of this delicious tuber, then you are missing out on a great source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, copper, potassium, zinc and protein. And it is all fat free – until of course you add the butter and sour cream!
I asked my daughter what made her think of using the skins as hash browns and she said (wait for it – this makes me so proud), “Mom, I bought the whole potato and by gosh darn, I’m going to get my money’s worth!” A small tear welled up in my eye when I heard that – and suddenly I had a craving for hash browns and easy-over eggs.
But then I got to thinking about how to make it easier to peel the potato and also make the hash browns in one step, instead of two. After talking about it we decided that an easier way to peel the potato was to run the potato over a cheese grater. You could grate the top layer of the potato (the skin) off and leave the bare potato to be boiled. After the potato skin has been grated it is now ready to be fried up into hash browns – and no extra cutting or slicing and dicing!
If you don’t want to eat hash browns and you want eat the potato skins as a snack instead, a lot of people will either place them in a broiler to crisp them up or fry them up crunchy. They will then eat them with butter or sour cream, or baked again with bacon and cheese. Some serve them with salsa as a dip, dipped in a sour cream ranch dip, chili with beans spooned over them, or with hummus. The delicious options are nearly endless.
Some people are a little squeamish about potato skins and think that they are dirty; only if you don’t wash them well enough. Myself, I have always loved eating potato skins and consider it part of the whole package. Others are concerned about the skins of any fruit or vegetable saying that they are filled with pesticides and chemicals that are harmful. I’m not one of those.
In the end you will have to decide to use the potato skin or not, but as for me and my daughter and our families, we are going to use the entire tuber and get our money’s worth.
Hmmm, I wonder what other stories I told her that she remembers. And I didn’t think she was listening.