Potato Preparation Affects Taste and Nutritional Content

Aug. 7, 2008
Potato preparation affects both taste and nutritional content

Baked, roasted, boiled or fried, the potato is America's favorite vegetable. Every year, the average American eats about 130 pounds of potatoes, which are loaded with vitamins and minerals.

The preparation of a potato can have a big impact on its mineral content, according to scientists at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Cubing potatoes can reduce boiling time, but it also reduces mineral content by as much as 75 percent. That's one conclusion from a study by research geneticist Shelley Jansky and plant physiologist Paul Bethke at the ARS Vegetable Crops Research Unit in Madison, Wis.
Jansky and Bethke, who subjected six potato varieties to various methods of preparation and then ran a mineral analysis for potassium and 10 other minerals, found that cubing or shredding potatoes prior to boiling resulted in significant potassium reductions.

This could be a good cooking strategy for potato fans hoping to reduce potassium intake, such as dialysis patients. But individuals who want to get the highest nutritional bang for their buck would be better off boiling their potatoes whole.

Jansky and Bethke also examined the effects of leaching the potatoes — letting them soak in water overnight. In contrast with conventional wisdom, results showed that leaching had no significant impact on potassium reduction.

For more information, visit www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_65765.html