Ah, the humble potato. Potatoes and sweet potatoes can be enjoyed in so many different ways, and today, we’re going to be talking all things potatoes. First, let’s clear the air: a potato (usually referring to white flesh) is NOT the same as a sweet potato.
What Is A Potato
A potato is a nightshade vegetable grown in the ground. When harvested, it can be roasted, grilled, mashed, boiled, baked, fried, and much more. Potatoes are a common staple in many cuisines around the world. This should not be confused with a couch potato.
Like tiger nuts (not a nut), a potato is a tuber. It’s considered one of the world’s most important crops, and pairs well with many seasonings and foods.
Anyone avoiding nightshades should not consume potatoes of any variety, including rose potatoes and purple potatoes. I cannot stress this enough: a food journal is critical when managing allergies and special diets, especially in the early days. If you’re following any of the following diets, potatoes are NOT on the list:
- Autoimmune Paleo Protocol
- Whole 30
If you’re following the Alkaline diet, have Celiac Disease, are LowFODMAP, are Fructose Intolerant, or are Low Histamine, you should be able to consume potatoes safely.
Should you be following a low residue/low fiber diet, the general consensus is to eat the potato flesh and not the skin. This also applies if you have gastroparesis. With GP the serving size is also very important, and your potatoes should be well cooked.
If potassium is an issue for you, both potato and sweet potato are considered on the high side with more than 200mg per portion. For those of you with an underlying medical condition related to potassium, be sure to keep that in mind.
If you’re low nickel diet or have a nickel allergy, potatoes are considered a food that *can* cause an issue and should be eaten with caution. Not to be confused with foods to be avoided 100%.
No matter what the “rules” of any particular diet say, if something you’re eating is making you feel unwell, skip it. Just because potatoes are low histamine approved doesn’t mean you’ll tolerate them. No two people are the same, so be sure to listen to your body.
If You Have a Corn Allergy
Living with a corn allergy can pose lots of problems when it comes to produce. I’m glad most people never have to learn this information. If you’re corn-lite, there’s a good chance you’ll be just fine with all potatoes. If you are a severe corn allergic our recommendation is to never purchase potatoes from a grocery store. You should find a good farmer’s market and ask lots of questions.
We also recommend not purchasing potatoes from cold storage, as there’s usually a curing process involved. You should be purchasing from a fresh crop, and your potatoes should be totally dirty rather than pre-washed.
Russet (Brown) Potatoes
French fries anyone? Russet potatoes are a favorite for frying and baking. Around here we are big fans of oven fries, even though we own a deep fryer. If you’re eating a lot of fries, consider purchasing a heavy duty fry cutter for your wall. You won’t regret it, I promise.
Baked potatoes are rather easy to make, but require the patience of a saint. Once cooked, you can top them with all sorts of goodies.
Hasselback potatoes are Uh-MAZE-ing!! Be sure to take the time to make them as well. Again, no regrets. Russet potatoes are also a fantastic choice for making hash-browns on the stove top.
One of my favorite varieties to work with, red potatoes are amazing for roasting. The kids’ favorite red potato recipe is Bacon Bomb Potatoes.
Red potatoes are also great for boiling, and using in traditional Southern recipes. Small red potatoes are awesome whole and seasoned generously. If you haven’t heard of Smashed Potatoes, you have to try that out too. They’re a little time consuming, but worth it in the end.
A timeless classic that I’m sure you’ve enjoyed over the years. Our favorite use for gold potatoes is for making mashed potatoes. Our second use is oven fries and/or fried fries. Gold potatoes come in a wide variety of options including fingerling potatoes.
Some gold potatoes have a thinner/more delicate skin than others. Some varieties are well known for their creamy content. If you’re stuck in a potato rut, venture out to a larger farmer’s market and I’m sure you’ll find all sorts of new varieties to enjoy.
If you’re struggling to find safe and delicious food, consider joining RAISE which has over 200 recipes (and growing). All gluten free, dairy free, egg free and more. We categorize for more than 20 diet types to get you cooking. There’s also Allergy Seminars, Safe Product Lists/Guides, Corn Free Courses, Podcast, and more.
When preparing both potatoes and sweet potatoes, you only really need a good knife and cutting board. However, to make your prep faster/more enjoyable, some specialized tools can really come in handy. This is even more true if you find yourself preparing the same type of potato dishes again and again.
Some of Our Favorite Potato & Sweet Potato Tools:
- Commercial Grade French Fry Cutter
- Mandolin Slicer
- Upright Shredder
- Potato Masher
- Good Potato Peelers
- Good Baking Trays
What Is A Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are considered tropical tubers and are grown in warm countries. It’s important to note that sweet potatoes are not yams, although the terms are used interchangeably. You can do a quick search online and learn all of the differences. Spruce Eats has done a nice writeup on the topic. Additionally, sweet potatoes are NOT nightshades like the potatoes referenced above.
Like white potatoes, sweet potatoes can be prepared in a variety of ways. Notable dishes include candied sweet potato, sweet potato pie, and sweet potato fries. You’ll also need to try dried sweet potato… one of nature’s finest candies.
If you’re unable to consume nightshades, sweet potatoes are an awesome alternative you can enjoy. For people following any of these diets, sweet potatoes are NOT on the menu:
If you follow the Alkaline diet, have GERD issues, are Low Histamine, or are enjoying a Whole 30 diet, sweet potatoes ARE on the list 🙂
If you’re Low FODMAP, sweet potato should be limited to a 1/2 cup serving. While sweet potatoes are generally considered OK for someone with a fructose intolerance, vegetables should generally be limited in serving size (about 1 cup max) for someone with a fructose intolerance.
For those of you with gastroparesis, once you’re in the solid foods phase, sweet potatoes should be well cooked without the skin. They also should not be consumed fried.
Like potatoes, sweet potatoes are not considered a low potassium food.
If you’re low fiber/low residue, you should consume cooked sweet potatoes without the skin.
As we mentioned before, it’s so important to keep a detailed food journal so it’s easy to figure out what’s working, and what’s not. At the end of the day, if something isn’t working for you, avoid the food, no matter what the “rules of the diet” are. Remember, no two people are the same.
Orange Flesh (Jewel) Sweet Potato
This is the most common type of sweet potato on the market. You’ll also see this sweet potato most commonly called a yam, even though it isn’t a yam. Sweet potato fries are an awesome way to enjoy these, as well as baked (like a baked potato), mashed, and of course in pie.
Although the word sweet it part of its name, sweet potatoes are amazing in savory dishes as well. Like potatoes, sweet potatoes can also be enjoyed as hasselback, and my are they delicious.
Purple Sweet Potato
Another fun variety to enjoy, and known as ube in some parts of the world. I personally feel that purple sweet potatoes are SO fun when you have kids. The first time I served the kids purple sweet potatoes they were so eager to try them. They’ve also had purple potatoes as well (they’re fun to mash).
Purple sweet potatoes can be served like all other sweet potatoes, and also make an excellent ice cream ingredient.
Japanese Sweet Potato
You’ll know a Japanese sweet potato from it’s classic sweet potato exterior and white-ish fleshed interior. It’s a hearty sweet potato and holds up to high temperatures and long cook times pretty well.
I’ve found that orange fleshed sweet potatoes are generally soft when it comes to bite and mouthfeel. The Japanese sweet potato on the other hand has firmness and body (for lack of a better word). If you’re following a specialty diet that eliminates white potato, Japanese sweet potato is an excellent potato substitute in soups and stews.
Both potatoes and sweet potatoes are awesome. Unless you have a severe corn allergy, they can be enjoyed year round in so many ways. If you’re feeling like there’s nothing to eat, I challenge you to grab a potato or sweet potato and give it a whole new flavor profile.