After years of trying, I finally got my potato to “puff” properly! :)

My Puffy Potato

The first thing you must know about me & potatoes is that I’m Irish, and quite predictably in love with potatoes.  Every kind of potato!  Pierogi, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes & brown sugar, french fries, hashbrowns, shepherd’s pie – it’s all tasty to me, but when I really crave potato, I usually bake one.

I found recently that using Yukon Gold potatoes for baking was far tastier and effective than using Russet potatoes which are, I’ve been told, the traditional baking potato. Whether that’s true or not I don’t know, but my last several Yukon Gold baked potatoes have come out perfect!

For vegan toppings, I use Earth Balance soy-free buttery spread, with either peas or a combination of black beans, tomatoes, cheeze, avocado, and corn.  If I’m going all out, I briefly cook the black beans and corn in oil with spices like red chili pepper flakes. This has become one of my favorite lunches, and really easy to prepare while doing other Ripples-related work.

How-To Guide: Baking Potatoes

For one large yukon gold potato in a toaster oven: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash potatoes thoroughly to remove dirt.  Cut out any “eyes” growing from the potato, and please do cut off any green parts on the skin as this indicates the presence of a toxin called solanine that affects the digestive and nervous systems.  If you cut the potato in half and see a slightly green rim just under the skin around the entire potato, it’s best to compost it.  Or if necessary you can skin the potatoes and safely consume the inside, although I’m not 100% sure how safe that is if your potatoes are really green.  If they taste bitter, don’t eat them, because that’s a stronger indication of higher levels of solanine. Yukon golds have thinner skin than Russets and other potatoes, and are more susceptible to going green, especially if you leave them in sunlight.

After washing and cutting off any eyes and green parts, poke potatoes with a fork several times around the outside. Rub with olive oil and a pinch of salt, and place in the oven on a baking sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes, depending on the size of your potato – check to see if it’s done enough by poking it with a fork and looking for a nice browned coloring. It should feel fluffy inside and easily puff up like the one in the picture.  Enjoy your potato!

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