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What’s In Season – Florida Potatoes

June 27, 2011

Ahhh, the potato. It is one of my favorite foods. Mashed, baked, boiled, fried, roasted, hot, cold – all good. Did you know that potatoes grow in Florida? They do! The harvest season is January through July. They are mostly grown in the northeastern part of the state, although they can be grown throughout Florida.

Florida potato types are, well, varied. We have yellow, white, red, purple, and even sweet. They come in chip and fresh market/table varieties. People are usually surprised when I tell them that the potato chips they eat could be from Florida.

Recently I bought a bag of mixed fingerling potatoes. After a good scrub, I halved them, mixed them with minced garlic, olive oil and garden-fresh chopped rosemary, then roasted them. Mmmmmm! It was cool being able to introduce a purple potato to friends (it’s very much like a white potato texturally, but it is a little sweeter than a white potato, just not as sweet as a sweet potato).

There are so many ways to enjoy potatoes. Since it is heating up in Florida, though, I enjoy Vichyssoise, a traditionally cold soup made of potatoes and leeks. The following recipe calls for it to be served warm, but you can chill and serve it cold for a refreshing and satisying meal.

Potato Leek Soup

Ingredients

4 ounces olive oil

5 cups chopped leeks

2 stalks Florida celery, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

4 cups cubed Florida potatoes

2 quarts chicken stock

2 cups canned skim evaporated milk

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the leeks, celery, and onion. Cook slowly for 10 minutes until golden and soft. Do not let the mixture brown. Add potatoes and chicken stock; cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 20-40 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. Mash the vegetables. Heat the milk and add to the soup. Salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 4-6 servings

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