Potatoes: the versatile food


By Gloria Yoder - The Amish Cook



Potatoes. Is there any other plant grown in our gardens that produce a more versatile food than an ordinary potato plant?

Potatoes can be used in countless ways whether they’re shredded to be used in a potato salad, fried for breakfast or used in one of the thousands of potato casserole recipes that are out there.

This spring as I cut up our seed potatoes I explained to our 3-year-old Julia how potato plants will grow from the tiny “eyes” peeking through the skins.

Isn’t that amazing? Like any other seed it has to die in order to bring life: a new plant, bearing fruit. When thinking about seeds I’m often reminded of a spiritual aspect in our lives. When we die to our selfish carnal nature and confess our sins to God we too can walk in newness of life. Praise be to Jesus for his sacrifice on the cross for us!

Back to our potatoes. Several years ago my husband Daniel and I enjoyed helping each other harvest our potatoes. With a shovel. in hand Daniel did the more strenuous work of turning the sod over and scoop at a time. I followed behind picking up the potatoes, tossing them into a bucket and dumping them into the wheelbarrow. Julia was impressed to be involved as well. She trailed behind us picking up the tiny marble-sized potatoes and putting them into her pocket, delighted to have found some her size.

The following day I made “mush” Daniel’s favorite dish made with potatoes. “Mush” is a German word we used for mashed potatoes. Daniel likes when I make a big batch while I’m at it anyway so I filled a 6 quart kettle with potatoes and turned it to mashed potatoes. I’ve discovered that leftover mashed potatoes can come in quite handy. They can easily be reheated after being refrigerator or frozen. You may want to add a dash of milk when heating leftovers as they tend to thicken after setting awhile. If you choose to freeze them you’ll notice that they’ll be a bit lumpy but once they’ve thawed out simply use a whisk or beater to whisk them into the original smooth, creamy texture once more.

A great way to use leftover mashed potatoes is to make “mush patties”. In fact that is what we are having for supper tonight. They taste somewhat like mashed potatoes with an added fried flavor that you’ll be sure to enjoy. In fact, one of the men at our church told his wife that to him it’s worth having mashed potatoes simply to have the leftovers turned into “mush patties”

You may want to serve them with gravy or ketchup or if you’re like me you may want a dab of sour cream on the side as an added bonus. Do you remember the cream stick recipe I shared with you several months ago? It does sound crazy but you may recall mashed potatoes is the one of the key ingredients that calls for.

This week I’d like to do a rerun of the mashed potato recipe we had several weeks ago due to some errors and clarifications. I’ll also include the “mush” patty recipe as well. To “Danielize” this recipe, I added pepperonis cut into small pieces along with diced onions and peppers. He was really impressed with them, which tickled me.

MUSH PATTIES

2 cups mashed potatoes

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chopped onion (optional)

1/4 cup diced peppers (optional)

1/2 cup pepperonis, cut into small pieces

Cheese of your choice

Mix everything together. Then put four 1/2 cup dabs of the mixture into a frying pan with butter. Fry on medium heat until golden brown on each side. Top with a slice of cheese if desired.

MASHED POTATOES

6 quarts of potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

1/2 cup butter

4 ounces of cream cheese

3/4 cup evaporated milk

2-4 cups whole milk or cream, adding a little bit at a time to achieve right consistency

Fill a 6 quart kettle with potatoes. Add 1 1/2 inches of water and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil. Simmer until potatoes are fork tender. Drain off water. Mash potatoes until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and then mash everything together. A heavy duty mixer also works well instead of mashing by hand) Melt an additional cup of butter on medium heat. Continue heating until butter is browned. Drizzle over mashed potatoes.

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By Gloria Yoder

The Amish Cook

Readers with culinary or culture questions or stories to share may write Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427.

Readers with culinary or culture questions or stories to share may write Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427.

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