Amidst all the seasonal silliness, one thing we are serious about is organic potatoes.
Root vegetables easily absorb pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides from the soil. Pesticides may be applied to conventionally grown potatoes and absorbed into the flesh. Of course, you could peel your potatoes to reduce the risk of consuming toxins, but as 50% of their nutrients are found near the skin, we suggest going for organic instead.
According to the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program, 37 different pesticides have been found on conventional potatoes: 7 carcinogens, 12 hormone disruptors, 9 neurotoxins, 6 reproductive toxins. Eek!
Along with many other nutrients, organic potatoes contain phytonutrients – potent antioxidants that can neutralize free radical damage.
Our potatoes are grown by local farmers Terrence Carey and Menzi Mkhize who care about good food, produced without harming the land, wildlife or humans. Guy Tarborton grows our sweet potatoes which will be ready to harvest in early December.
Nelly runs the Dovehouse kitchen. She doesn’t like potatoes.
“When I was young we ate potatoes all the time, for breakfast, supper and as snack when we went on trips. I’ve had enough potatoes,” she laughs.
Nelly grew up in her grandmother’s home in rural Greytown where they had a big food garden crammed with produce – pumpkins, beans, maize, greens and potatoes. “My grandmother made potato curry and one of the first things I learned to cook was rice to go with it,” she remembers. Every afternoon, Nelly and her younger sisters would have chores to do and her favourite activity was walking to the garden to see what to harvest for supper. After collecting firewood, they would set about preparations. “I was not strong enough to cut up the pumpkin so my Gogo would do that and then I would cook. I made pumpkin jam and peach chutney from our tree. There was no stopping me in the kitchen.”
Since leaving school Nelly has always worked in the food industry gathering knowledge and skills along the way. “I like to adapt recipes, change ingredients according to what is available and try different cooking methods to add more flavour.” Her favourite way of preparing sweet potatoes is sprinkled with Nature’s Choice Vegetable Stock and roasted. This works well with butternut and ordinary potatoes too. “I never get bored. I love cooking and tell my children that you must always cook with love. Smile and dance while you cook and the food will be extra nice.”
Next time you are in the shop, try one of Nelly’s creations – apple crumble with apples gently stewed in spices and butter to intensify the flavour, or perfect little quiches filled with roasted sweet potato, fresh herbs and greens.
Summery Potato Salad
- 1kg new season organic potatoes
- 3/4 cup Tatsfield Greek yoghurt
- 1 tsp Oaklands Whey kombucha vinegar
- 2 tsp Olyvenbosch olive oil
- 5 chopped spring onions
- Lots of mint leaves
- Crushed garlic
- Salt and pepper
Boil potatoes until tender in well salted water.
Drain, cool and cut into chunks if large.
Mix the yoghurt, vinegar, oil, garlic and seasoning together and add to the potatoes.
Before serving gently mix in half of the mint and all the spring onions.
Scatter with the rest of the herbs and serve.
Potato salad is a great addition to your festive table, but does not need to be drenched in mayo. Try this healthy alternative that is just as tasty.
Sweet Potato ‘Pasta’
Our organically grown sweet potatoes (which will be in the store soon) are great cooked in so many ways. One of our favourite easy recipes is to spiralise them and serve new season cherry tomatoes, spring onions and herbs from the garden.
If you have a spiraliser, turn one large or two small sweet potatoes into ‘noodles’. If you don’t have one, simply use a vegetable peeler to create thin ribbons of sweet potato.
Sweet potato can be eaten raw, but if you prefer them softer, soak in a bowl of water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar for half an hour.
While soaking, gather ingredients for your favourite ‘pasta’ sauce. We love cherry tomatoes with basil, spring onions and chilli cooked for a minute of two. Other great toppings are feta and marjoram or parsley and pecan nuts.
Microgreens are uber-trendy right now with top chefs and home cooks using them to create colourful and tasty dishes. Did you know that tiny microgreens are considered Functional Food – a food that promotes health or prevents disease?
- up to 9 times more nutrient dense than fully grown plants
- packed with powerful anti-oxidants
- great source of vitamins and minerals
- rich in enzymes to aid digestion
- red sorrel, cilantro and red cabbage microgreens, contain more beta-carotene than carrots
- Broccoli microgreens contain up to 100 times more cancer fighting Sulforaphane than a mature plant.
So stick them onto salads, inside sandwiches, sprinkle on pizza, add to soups, and juices. Vegetable confetti for your plate!
There is no chance of a White Christmas in the Midlands, so how about a Green Christmas? Exchanging gifts is a lovely idea, when we’re not mindlessly buying things for the sake of it.
At Dovehouse we have plenty of interesting gift ideas that won’t cost the planet. The DIY MicroGreens Kit ticks all the festive boxes:
- novel and fun
- beautifully packaged
If relatives and friends arrive bearing gifts, reciprocate with local and jolly lekker presents – or simply a splendid meal made with love, produced by local farmers who care about the animals and vegetables they grow.
While the world may seem overwhelming at times, making choices that support small local producers has a ripple effect – the more of us who do it, the more chance we have of changing the world one delicious meal and one thoughtful gift at a time.
O is for Organic.
Organic farming is a method of crop and livestock production that involves much more than choosing not to use pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics and growth hormones. Organic production is a holistic system designed to optimize the productivity and health of everything within the agro-ecosystem, including soil organisms, plants, livestock and people.
The main goal of organic production is to develop enterprises that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment.
This post first appeared as the Dovehouse Organics November Newsletter.