Just this week I saw an Irish play called “Stones in His Pockets” which was totally brilliant. Yet as nearly all things with me seem to lead back to food – I just can’t think of Ireland without thinking of potatoes. After all, the Irish virtually lived on nothing else for generations and they were a healthy lot!
I’m not sure many people today appreciate how dependent the Irish people were on potatoes. When the potato blight hit different parts of the world in 1844 rotting potato crops in the field, most communities had other sources of food and so could manage relatively well. Many areas of Ireland were completely dependent on potatoes and had, in many cases, no other sources of food. This famine unfortunately combined with industry failures, weather problems, and disease. This is most likely the time period where the phrase “the luck of the Irish” comes from. It is usually an indicator of spectacularly bad fortune. At least, growing up, that was how we used it!
History lesson over and nutrition lesson to begin!
Potatoes are considered a superfood because even when you boil or bake them, you get all sorts of wonderful vitamins, minerals, and fibre. There are B-complex, vitamin C, and the very valuable potassium which you can find in the skins. In fact, boiling potato skins to make tea is a remedy in some countries for high blood pressure. So next time you boil some potatoes, don’t throw the water out!
Raw potato juice has a place in traditional medicine as a remedy for stomach ulcers and arthritis. You just need half a small glass, four times a day, over a period of a month. It tastes very nasty so you really have to mix it with something else to get it down (and have it stay there I might add). I’ve also heard it’s extremely good for your complexion, but quite frankly, you can drop me a line and let me know if you find it works! I’m not that brave to try myself.
When you buy potatoes it is well worthwhile doing a quick internet search if you’re not familiar with the type of potato. There are so many varieties out there and not all of them can be cooked in the same way! In fact, once you start looking around you will see that some potatoes are best for certain things such as mashing, some for baking, or frying, or roasting, perhaps for salads, or soups and stews, others for steaming, some for boiling, and yet others for grilling, have I missed a way of preparing them? So this means a potato that is delicious in salads might fall apart if you fry it, or make a gluey mashed potato that just isn’t appetizing. Taking a minute to do your research is well worthwhile. Huber’s Butchery has a really good range of potatoes, and during particular celebrations such as Christmas you’ll find even more varieties than usual including my favourite Kipfler potatoes. All of them are airflown.
What’s so great about airflown potatoes? While potatoes do store extremely well they are, like most, things better fresh. We buy off the markets in Melbourne and you can taste the difference between those just harvested and zipped over to Singapore by plane and those sent my ship which can take six weeks or more. Fresh is best, and healthier for you too. That’s why we use airflown potatoes for Olive Grove’s salads.
This means, you can always stop by stores like Tanglin Market Place and collect a serving or two of Roland’s famous southern German potato salad. A lovely side dish when you’re having a BBQ or roasted meats such as pork or beef. We make it only to order in small batches, so enjoy all those health benefits with your delicious dinner!