Now That’s a Spud!

gardening

I had not checked the garden in a few days. It had been so hot and I just wanted to keep out of the sun. However, yesterday, I braved the heat and made my way to the garden.

First, I picked another cucumber. That one got made into fried cucumbers per Nancy’s suggestion. Thanks again Nancy! They were great. Next, I picked more tomatoes than I care to count. It was while I was picking the tomatoes that I saw it. A potato just grazing the surface. What! I went running in to tell the boys.

After dropping off my tomatoes, I went back out and dug-up my first ever, home grown potatoes. They looked wonderful and I could not wait to cook them last night. After the long wait of growing these spuds, I must say, they were delicious. Freshest potatoes I have ever had, as they were picked and eaten the same day.

The good news is, there are still more in the garden. Now, I am having visions of moving to Idaho to become a genuine potato farmer.

As always, Happy Gardening!

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The Potato Plants Have Flowers

gardening

A quick update on our potato plants. Today, as I was trimming away some of the tomato vines in the garden (that were overtaking things), I discovered flowers on the potato plants. A very good sign I should think.

The flowers were a pale shade of purple with yellow centers. Who knew potato plants could be so lovely? I am getting more excited every day as I tend to the plants. They are growing quite tall now and I am crossing my fingers that the potatoes underground are maturing as well.

Who knows, maybe if this potatoe thing works out, I’ll start a potato farm in Idaho.

As always, Happy Gardening!

Storing Potatoes in Warm Climates

gardening

It is said that one should not store potatoes in the refrigerator. Oh no! Hadn’t heard that before. Why on earth not?

According to GoodHousekeeping.com:

“According to the New Scientist, we shouldn’t be storing raw potatoes in the fridge because it can lead to the formation of acrylamide during cooking.

At low temperatures, an enzyme breaks down the sugar sucrose into glucose and fructose, which can form acrylamide during cooking.

Acrylamide has hit the headlines thanks to the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), which has launched a warning of the possible cancer risk associated with this chemical.”

Well, after reading such articles as that, I looked into the best ways to store potatoes. The best place to store potatoes is in a cool, dry place such as a cellar or basement. This, however, poses a problem for me. I live in California. This is not the midwest. No one has cellars or basements in California. Now what?

I started to leave the spuds out on the counter. Of course this is a big no-no. Potatoes do not like light and we have plenty of that in California. If left on the counter, they will start to sprout and turn slightly green inside.

So, I read where putting the spuds in a basket or well ventillated bag in a pantry would do. Ok, so I had found room in the pantry, put them in a brown bag, poked holes in it for ventillation, and closed the top. Again, this did not work. The spuds did not last long. I think I suffocated them…

The next method, I am proud to say, is working like a charm and so simple to do. I take a small brown paper lunch bag and roll down the sides, then I gently place the potatoes inside the bag. Keeping the bag open at top, I then place it inside my pantry. Voila! The potatoes seem to be happy enough and have plenty of airflow and are kept in the dark as to what is going on in the light of day. They have not sprouted and seem to be doing well. Of course, it is only spring here in California and the really hot days of summer are not upon us yet. We shall see how they like the pantry in a few months time but for now all is well.

Another thought I had….the grocery stores seem to like to store the single potatoes in the refrigerated shelves that then spray water on them every so many minutes. This is probably (in my oppinion) a bad thing. Only the 3 or 5 pound bags are stored dry and out of refrigeration. Although a few stores do carry singles stored witout refrigeration, most do not. So it is probably important to purchase potatoes that are stored properly before getting to one’s house.

As always, Happy Harvesting!