Purple Potatoes: What’s the Deal?

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Potatoes comes in many, many varieties – much more than a glance of a British supermarket would have you believe. But none could be more distinct than the Vitelotte. With it’s deep purple-black skin and bright blue-violet flesh, this potato has a stunning vivid colour, and distinctive, chestnutty taste.

What makes them purple?

Purple potatoes are packed full of anti-oxidants – and, primarily, the anti-oxidant ‘anthocyanin’, the flavinoid that gives red, purple and blue fruits and vegetables their distinctive colour. Revered for both it’s use as a dye and for it’s health promoting benefits, purple-hued plants have been cultivated for thousands of years for this wonderful antioxidant.

Did you know that purple produce was one of the predicted trends for 2017? With the health and wellness movement taking the world by storm – we’re not surprised! (Plus, purple foods are delicious…)

Why is this so good?

Antioxidants are essential to counter the effects of oxidants (i.e. ‘free-radicals’) in the body. In an antioxidant scarce diet, oxidants are free to cause cell damage, increase inflammation and contributing to disease progression. Purple potatoes, fortunately, have much more than antioxidants than their paler potato cousins – hence the vivid hue.

Anthocyanins are, in fact, antioxidant superheroes and are a potent force of health in the body, as demonstrated by a plethora of in-vitro and participant studies. For example, one study found that adding purple potatoes to the diets of overweight, middle aged subjects reduced their blood pressure by five points within a month. Just by adding potatoes! (And who doesn’t love the idea of eating more potatoes for health?) And, the purple cherry on top: despite the calorie increase, none of the subjects gained any weight. Purple potatoes truly are superior…

What to do with them?

Purple potatoes definitely taste different to your usual supermarket yellow and white varieties – and that’s a good thing! With their nutty taste and magnificent colour (even when cooked), you can use these delicious potatoes in any potato recipe you desire for a twist. Whip up a salad and add vitelottes for a striking visual element; slice, drizzle with olive oil and herbs and roast for some truly spectacular and flavoursome french fries, or how about this recipe for a striking autumn gratin?

Recipe:

You’ll need:
5 medium vitelotte potatoes, sliced
1 festival squash, peeled and cubed.
1 leek , sliced
A generous bunch of spinach
A handful of sage
A handful of thyme
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 good tsp black pepper
1 cup of Sussex cream
5 oz Sister Sarah cheese

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180c. In a baking dish, layer the leeks, spinach, squash and potatoes, finishing with a layer of purple potatoes for the top layer. Sprinkle each layer with garlic, herbs and pepper. When layered, pour over the cream and top with the Sister Sarah cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for about an hour and half – or until the potatoes and squash are cooked.

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Want to try some interesting, unusual and downright delicious potato varieties, grown in Sussex? Take a look at our range now! 

Have you tried vitelotte potatoes? What do you think? What’s your favourite heritage potato? Let us know in the comments or on our social media! (@finandfarm)


Recipe inspired by Autumn Potato Gratin by Better Homes and Gardens.
Image 1: Luscious Potato Plant Flowers by Laura Ferreira/ Flickr (CC)
Image 2: Purple Peruvian Potatoes by Pim Techamuanvivit/ Flickr (CC)

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Purple Potatoes: What’s the Deal?

Seasonal Spanish-Style Stew

pumpkin

Pumpkin season is finally here! This delicious and colourful season only comes about once a year – so don’t miss out. There are a million delicious pumpkin recipes to play with, but we love this Spanish inspired chorizo-pumpkin stew for it’s punchy flavours. Oregano, chilli, chorizo and sweet pumpkin combine for a meal that won’t fail to please family and friends. Hearty, bright and warming, this seasonal stew is the perfect thing to ease you into this grey and stormy October…

Recipe

You’ll need:
2-3 tbspoon of Mesto extra virgin olive oil
1 can of chickpeas
1 can of butter beans
2 cups of fresh diced tomatoes
1 tbspoon tomato puree
1 medium pumpkin, peeled and diced
1 generous handful of red kale (or any seasonal veg you care for)
2 medium onions
1lb of spicy chorizo
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tsp of dried oregano or a handful of fresh
1/2-1 hot chilli (according to taste)
2 tsp paprika
A pinch of saffron
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp black pepper
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To serve:
Slivered almonds
Parsley
Fresh crusty bread

Method:
In a large pan, saute the onions, garlic, spices and chorizo in the olive oil until the onions are translucent and the spices fragrant. Add the pumpkin, oregano, fresh tomatoes and stock and simmer until the pumpkin is tender and flavours have melded. Towards the end of cooking, add in the beans and kale, continuing to cook for 3-4 minutes until the kale soft, but not overcooked. Finally, add in the tomato puree to thicken.

Garnish with a swirl of olive oil, seasoning, slivered almonds and fresh parsley. Enjoy with friends and family, and good crusty bread!

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Using the whole pumpkin

Don’t forget that the seeds and the skin are edible – and, more importantly, delicious! Scoop out the seeds and rinse, and toss with the pumpkin skin in some olive oil, salt and spices. Bake in the oven at 180c for 20-30 minutes (Keeping an eye on the pumpkin skin to make sure it doesn’t burn!). These make for a tasty, healthy and zero food waste snack!


Recipe inspired by GourmetGents.Blogspot.Co.Uk/ Image 1: Pumpkin by Michael Brown/Flickr (CC)/ Image 2: Cuddle in a Casserole by Manipa Mandal/Flickr (CC)

Seasonal Spanish-Style Stew

7 Delicious Things To Do With Squash

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Cozy jumpers, golden leaves, crisp sunny days and the first pumpkins appearing in shops and on doorsteps: autumn has officially arrived. And, what better way to dive into autumn delights than by eating the colours of the season with mouth-watering, locally grown squash.

With their warm, earthy colours perfectly fitting with the season and sweet, starchy flesh, these gourds are the ultimate healthy comfort food to carry you through the cooling season.

And, if you think squash varieties are limited to butternut and pumpkin – think again!  From crown prince to red kuri to sweet dumpling, there are so many delicious varieties to enjoy…

But, what to do with them? Well – we’ve got a few ideas!

1. Roast.

This is the most simple, fool proof way to cook squash. Simply roasting allows you to truly enjoy the unique flavour of each squash variety for the ultimate veggie appreciation. There’s no need to peel (thank goodness, as peeling a squash can prove laborious!), as the skins become tender and tasty with cooking.

Whole, sliced in half, diced, cut length ways – any shape will do. Drizzle with Mesto olive oil, a good sprinkling of herbs (how about rosemary, cumin and crushed garlic?), seasoning, and bake for approximately 45-90 minutes (or until the squash is tender and golden).

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You can add roast squash to any number of dishes for a more intense, sweet squash flavour. But we love to eat roast squash accompanied by other  winter foods for a sweet-savoury accompaniment to a weekday dinner. Cut into lengths, roast squash even makes a healthy alternative to fries!

2. Add to curries and stews.

Peel, deseed and dice, and add to your hearty and wholesome stews and curries. You’ll be amazed at the sweet, delicate dimension squash will add to your dishes. Why not try an easy and aromatic red lentil, squash and coconut curry?

3. A delicious twist to a classic quiche

Did you see Muir’s Easy #EatSussex Quiche recipe? Use whatever vegetables and squash varieties you like – and we promise it will still be delicious! How about using butternut for a classic?

4. Step up your pasta

Squash and pasta might just be the most heavenly combination. The sweet creaminess of seasonal squash can lighten and enhance the flavour of a comforting pasta dish. Try Pumpkin Pasta, or even add to macaroni and cheese to revel in the true magic of these scrumptious winter veg (a plant-based version here).

Want to take it to the next level? You can leave out the pasta altogether and have actual squash-pasta! Spiralized butternut squash makes a surprisingly tasty spaghetti alternative. How about a herby goats cheese butternut-noodles? In lieu of a spiralizer, nature has provided us with spaghetti squash – simply roast and scoop out the flesh for a pasta alternative.

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5. Mash

A flavoursome side dish, mashed squash and be as simple or elaborate as you like – from simply steaming and mashing with whatever seasoning you care for, to dishes such as this garlic and sage squash mash.

6. Cool weather soups

A fail-safe ingredient for a delicious, sweet, naturally creamy soup to satisfy even the fussiest of eaters. How about trying this superb squash soup by Jamie Oliver?

7. Desserts

Yes, really! Winter gourds are so versatile. Step out of the box of using veg only for savoury dishes and add a little wholesome sweetness to your life. How about a Japanese kabocha squash pie? Or fragrantly spiced squash-molasses cookies?

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Any of our unusual squash varieties can replace the squash used in these recipes. Let us know your favourite way to each squash in the comments! Don’t forget to like and share if you enjoyed this cooking inspiration.


Feeling inspired to cook with this magical veg? Check out the local, unusual varieties of squash that we sell! More varieties are on their way as we head deeper into Autumn…

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #EatSussex so we can see your divine seasonal squash pictures and home-cooked treats on social media…

 

7 Delicious Things To Do With Squash

Daikon – An antidote to winter veg

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January and February are our hunger gap months when nothing new seems to be growing here in Sussex and all we can do is wait for the soil to warm up.

Daikon is a rare veg that transcends winter and summer seasons and tastes as warming and fresh cooked as well as raw. Continue reading “Daikon – An antidote to winter veg”

Daikon – An antidote to winter veg

A quick and healthy lunch wrap

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We are still appalled at the idea of Veganuary and Dry January – why inflict such punishment on your poor old wintery body during the darkest and coldest months of the year?

So, for the sake of sanity we are definitely not denying ourselves a chilled glass of wine or a slab of fresh bread and butter – especially when it’s balanced by brisk walks and cycles (although usually with the glass of wine at the end…).  But, there is still room for improvement so we have revived our resolution this month – to cook everything from scratch and try new and preferably colourful recipes using some of our herbs and spices which have been lurking in the depths.

Continue reading “A quick and healthy lunch wrap”

A quick and healthy lunch wrap