Over the Christmas holiday season, I saw several persons showing off pics of their vegetables including potatoes that they had got in the sales for really silly money. It seems to me that there was a real glut on the market because the sale prices of vegetables hit rock bottom levels in almost all major supermarkets. My friend got a massive bag of potatoes for only 18 p! Well, not wanting to be left out of the deals, I went out and got myself some too! Only to realize those tell-tale little signs that my potatoes had actually started to grow.
Not to worry, I will share with you some ideas for how I used up those potatoes as part of your meal planning regime. A small chest freezer is actually a good investment as you will be able to store food for months. You sure can use these ideas too! They will save you time on the days when you are too tired or stressed to be bothered with cooking. Saves you money too, as you don’t have to have a takeaway as you can do it yourself.
First of all, what does it mean when you see those little sprouts on the potatoes. The scientific terms are a mouthful! The short answer is that the potatoes have started to grow! Quick, you need to get them cooked, cooled and frozen if you have too many to eat at one meal.
I’ve read before that as long as you remove the sprouted bits from the firm potato, it is safe to use. Also if the potato has any green areas on the skin, cut those off too. If the potato has shriveled, it has gone too far and should not be eaten.
It is frugal to make the best use of foodstuff that you have bought. So use them up rather than throwing them out.
So after I removed the sprouting bits and peeled the potatoes, they were ready to be used in a potato salad. By the way, I prepared the whole bag of potatoes as part of my meal planning and preparation regime for the month. For the potato salad, I only keep it in the fridge for no more than 3 days. I have never tried freezing it. Have you? Somehow I don’t think it would maintain its good quality after freezing. So for three consecutive days, we had potato salad, a bit of meat, and some fresh vegetable salad.
I love a jacket potato now and again and so I used to buy the McCain frozen jacket potatoes. Although they were expensive, I found it to be convenient and a quick dinner idea with a salad and a filling. All I had to do was to microwave it straight from frozen and it was ok. Well, here’s my take on that: Remove the sprouting bits from the firmer and bigger potatoes. Wash them and pierce the skin in a few places. Grease the skins lightly with olive oil and bake them in the oven. Once they are cooked, remove them and cool completely before bagging them and freezing them. They can last for months and whenever you are ready for a jacket potato meal, you just need to microwave it from frozen.
From your hoard of potatoes, you can also make mashed potatoes. And believe me, this too can be prepared, cooled and frozen for a later time. Once the potatoes are cooked, I drain most of the water, add milk and butter to the pan and use a masher to get the mashing done. After that, I add a bit of black pepper and salt and give it a final stir. Store in suitable freezer containers and store in the freezer. Remove from the freezer and place in the fridge for defrosting when ready for use.
After washing the potatoes, remove the growing bits, cut into wedges then boil for half the time they would normally take to be properly cooked. You should then apply salt and black pepper or coatings of your choice and a drizzle of olive oil and put in a freezer bag. Freeze for later use. They can easily be roasted as well then cooled and stored in the freezer.
Plant your Potatoes
When it comes to gardening, this is one of my favourite things to do. I love it because it does not require much tending to, nor water, and the amount that I get from one container is always amazing to me. It’s really encouraging to plant potatoes. I wish I had such luck with orchids. Never mind.
You can cut one of your potatoes into two or three, depending on size, and actually plant them. You will need a container and some soil. I’ve even had luck one year at school when I let my students plant some potatoes in the bag that the soil came in. We were all amazed at the bountiful harvest that we got.
So if ever you find yourself with potatoes that have started sprouting, don’t throw them out but use them up as part of tour meal planning regime. Next week we will show you how you can portion a chicken and use it for several meals. Do remember to check out Katy’s and Naomi’s meal planning ideas that are bound to give you lots more inspiration.