• Cyril McAree

All Hail Our National Treasure And Iconic Vegetable Tomorrow On National Potato Day!

Tomorrow, Friday 6th October 2017, Bord Bia is encouraging all Irish people to celebrate one of Ireland’s national treasures and iconic vegetables, the champion potato. Designated National Potato Day, this Friday, the people of Ireland are being urged to experiment with new ways of cooking our most popular carbohydrate food encouraged by the fact that, according to the experts, they offer some major health benefits. The theme for this year’s celebration “Potatoes: What’s Under The Skin” will explore the nutritional profile of the popular tuber and offer hundreds of exciting recipe ideas, tips and cooking advice via www.potato.ie.

National Potato Day Ambassador and Registered Dietician, Radio and TV Broadcaster, Aoife Hearne said, “It may be a surprise to some, but potatoes are the long-standing hero of mine when it comes to carbohydrates. Not only are they unprocessed, but eating them with the skin on makes them a good source of fibre in the Irish diet. They’re fat-free, but also gluten-free, meaning they’re a great carbohydrate choice for people with coeliac disease but best of all, they’re delicious! Potatoes are part of the carbohydrate family – an essential nutrient for energy and the only energy source readily available for the brain to use. They are a valued part of a balanced and varied diet and just like other macronutrients - protein and fat - it is the quality and quantity of all these nutrients that is important.”

According to Aoife Hearne, as with all foods, how we cook potatoes is key to harnessing their health benefits and she advocates boiling, steaming, roasting or even making homemade wedges to enjoy potatoes at their best. {See Aoife’s Homemade Potato Wedges Recipe in notes to editor} Among the health benefits, Aoife says that potatoes provide:

  • A good source of fibre when eaten with their skins on.

  • A source of potassium for normal blood pressure.

  • An excellent source of vitamin C to support the immune system.

  • A variety of B vitamins for metabolism.

  • A source of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in smaller amounts.

  • A great first baby food when introducing solids at 6 months as they are soft in texture, salt and fat-free.

  • A great food for children as they provide an essential energy source for growing bodies and active lifestyles.

National Potato Day is a campaign organised by Bord Bia to encourage Irish people to celebrate potatoes and to experiment in the kitchen with a range of tasty recipes available from www.potato.ie. The website features over 120 delicious recipes, inspired by international cuisine, which are quick to prepare in under 25 minutes and healthy containing between 300 and 500 calories.

Lorcan Bourke, Potato Sector Manager with Bord Bia, said that the potato is an important part of Irish culture, and it is a tribute to their great taste, versatility, and value-for-money that they have endured through the generations to remain Ireland’s favourite carb.“We are in an era where people have more food choices than ever before, and are increasingly health conscious. So the fact that potatoes are naturally fat-free and gluten free is hugely positive in their favour. We are keen to highlight to people that potatoes are a true international food with delicious recipes available from all over the world and now available on www.potato.ie.”

Irish Potato Market Statistics

Potatoes remain Irelands most popular carbohydrate food

The household spend on potatoes from March to March 2016 to 2017 was €195m

The household volume of potatoes purchased from March to March 2016 to 2017 was 205,819 tonnes

One third of all pack sizes sold are 7.5kg packs ~ 61% of pack sizes are 5kg or less

Roosters are the most popular potato variety in Ireland accounting for 66% of all sales. {Kantar WorldPanel}

The farmgate value of fresh potatoes produced in Ireland in 2016 was €86m {Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine}

In 2016 there were 346,246 tonnes of fresh ware potatoes grown on 8,706 hectares

These were grown by approx. 450 commercial potato growers {Bord Bia / Industry Estimates}

Recipes with an international twist

Some of the exciting new recipes featured on the www.potato.ie website for National Potato Day include: Bombay Potato Hash; Italian Potato Frittata with Asparagus & Feta; Brazilian Potato & Vegetable Kebab; Chaat Masala Spicy Street Snacks; Danish Potato Pancakes with Asparagus; Greek Style Beef & Potato Moussaka; Jamaican Jerk Potato & Black Bean Curry; Korean Kimchi Potato Slaw on Sourdough Toast; Loaded Mexican Potato Skins and much more!

For further information on National Potato Day and to access recipes, cookery tips, blogs and videos visit www.potato.ie.

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