Where has the good old fashioned Irish spud gone?
It seems that most people are latching onto the latest food trend, the sweet potato. Why? Well some claim it to be a superfood. A superfood is any food that has a large quantity of nutrients. Generally though once labelled a superfood, you are charged twice the price. When in reality an apple can be defined as a superfood, as it too is packed full of goodness. Currently we are bombarded by the food and fitness industry with the sweet potato, its nutritional benefits and hundreds of interesting dishes we can make using it. And I like others, followed the trend and left the spud well behind in my childhood. So is the sweet potato better for us or can we bring back the spud! Well let’s take a look…
|Nutrients/100g||Sweet Potato||Regular Spud|
|of which fibre||3.0g||2.2g|
|of which sugar||6.0g||0.8g|
Source: My Fitness Pal
Let’s take a closer look. The Sweet potato has a higher amount of carbs overall. The two products are more or less equal in terms of fibre, while the sweet potato, as its name implies, has considerably more sugar. However these are natural forms of sugars so nothing to be concerned about. Protein is common in both although some sources will claim the regular potato has more protein. If we are looking to pack a punch with protein we won’t be sourcing it from a carbohydrate, so is this even relevant? Chicken or fish will do this a lot more easily for us.
Both regular and sweet potatoes offer equal amounts of calcium, good for bones. Nearly equal amounts of vitamin C can be found in each, 35% for the regular potato and 37% for the sweet potato. However, a large sweet potato offers a whopping 438% of vitamin A (good for your eyes) while you will get none of this vitamin from a regular potato. In terms of iron, a regular potato provides 10% of your daily need, while a sweet potato only offers 4%.
Not represented in the above table is the glycaemic index (GI) of the potatoes. The sweet potato tends to fair out better on this. The sweet potato has a lower GI score, but so too do baby potatoes. Large floury, mash or chips will be slightly higher on the GI scale. The lower the GI, the slower the food is to raise your blood sugar levels. More on Glycaemic index of foods here. Some may favour the sweet potato because of this.
So, which carb wins the health challenge? Both foods, not spoiled by toppings or unhealthy cooking methods (chips), are good for you. The one you choose depends on taste and personal dietary needs. If you need more vitamin A for the day, go with the sweet potato. Want maybe more protein or potassium? Go with the regular potato.
One more consideration. Do you know where your sweet potatoes come from? Where their origin is? How far they have travelled? Well one thing is for sure, they need high temperatures for long periods of time to grow, so Ireland is defiantly not their origin. Do you know where your regular Irish potato comes from? How far that has travelled? My Irish potato travels about 2 miles from farm to fork. Here is the exact farm they come from. This may also be something to consider when forming your opinion.
So to help bring the spud well and truly back to my table I have tried out a few new recipes. If you want to vamp up your regular mash or boiled potato, feel free to give these a try.
Crispy Smashed Baby Potatoes
You will need…..
- Baby potatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
- salt and pepper
Let’s get cooking….
- In a large pot, boil potatoes until they are fork tender.
- Rinse them under cold water until they are cool enough to handle.
- On a baking sheet, smash each potato with a glass or something similar.
- Drizzle each potato with olive oil and then season them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme and parmesan.
- Bake at 190oC for about 10 minutes or until they become golden and crispy.
- Serve up
You will need…..
- 3 cups leftover mashed potatoes
- 1 egg
- 2-3 tbsp flour
- ½ cup feta or cheddar cheese
- 1/2 green pepper
- chorizo or bacon (you will get an amazing colour from the chorizo)
- ½ cup chopped cherry tomatoes
- oil for frying
Let’s get cooking….
- Chop chorizo and veg into small pieces.
- Fry off chorizo and vegetables in a little oil. The chorizo will release enough oil, only use a touch.
- Combine ingredients into mash.
- In a large pan heat oil or butter over medium high.
- Fry pancakes until they are golden and crispy on both sides and warm throughout.
- Serve with anything! Meat, fish, chicken….the list is endless. Or leave the meat out fully and it becomes a great vegetarian dish.