Friday, April 16, 2010

Sweet Potato Gratin

Two bags of potatoes were sitting on my counter. One was organic and the other conventional, which I almost never buy. The organic ones get eaten pretty quickly here, but this last bag sat for nearly two weeks,  so it contained a few potatoes that were beginning to sprout. The conventional ones have been sitting on my counter for two months, not a sprout anywhere. That says it all. If they are so highly treated with chemicals that they can't grow, it's not a good idea to eat them.

Potatoes are root vegetables, so they absorb herbicides, pesticides and fungicides that end up in the soil.  During the growing season they're treated with pesticides, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the vines before harvesting. After they're dug up, the potatoes are treated to prevent them from sprouting.

This sprout inhibiting chemical is so toxic that protective clothing and respirators must be worn by those applying it.  It should not be swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. It must not be used on seed potatoes, and should not contaminate water, food or feed. And yet they are putting this on potatoes that we are meant to eat. Isn't that food?  So I will continue to stick to organic potatoes and avoid these chemicals as much as possible. Good whole foods spoil. If it is so heavily processed or treated that it won't spoil, chances are all of the nutrition is gone and it's simply not worth eating. And the chemicals may well be extremely harmful.

In order to use up my organic taters before the rest sprouted, I came up with this simple, creamy, vegan gratin.  I used just half of a jalapeno, I don't like too much heat. Adjust it to suit your own tastes.
Here's a picture before baking:

Sweet Potato Gratin

4-5 sweet potatoes, with skin on, sliced thin

Combine for sauce:
2 c. light coconut milk
1 large clove garlic, minced
zest and juice from 1 lime
1/2 of a jalapeno pepper, finely minced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Layer potatoes and sauce, bake uncovered about an hour. Serves 6.


Fayinagirl (means Free One) April 16, 2010 at 12:05 PM  

You know...I try to buy organic as often as possible and I forgot to tell the fam when they went shopping for me to get organic potatoes. Ugh. I couldn't stop thinking about it when the fam was eating baked potatoes last night. That'll be our last non-organic potato purchase.

Rose April 16, 2010 at 1:42 PM  

Wow, this sounds great! I love the idea of coconut milk gratin; the potatoes must be so delicious after absorbing it.

Also, thanks for the info on potato cultivation...I always buy organic produce, now I feel even better about that decision.

janet April 16, 2010 at 2:19 PM  

Julie Lynn, I too try to buy organic as much as possible, especially for the dirty dozen. When they were out of organic potatoes I bought a bag of conventional ones because the hubs really wanted potatoes, but I haven't been able to bring myself to use them, and I won't buy them again.

Rose, thanks, the potatoes were pretty tasty, you can always tell when the food is good, there is no talking at the table- just eating ;)

blessedmama April 16, 2010 at 6:46 PM  

Very creative recipe! I like it. Thanks for the detailed info on organic vs. non-organic potatoes. About half of my produce is organic, well, maybe more since we grow some and a farm delivers some. Then, I also purchase some, too! :) But, some is conventional b/c frankly, I just can't afford everything to be organic. I wish they would make it as affordable as conventional.

Kateri April 16, 2010 at 8:39 PM  

That sounds really yummy, and ugh, I didn't realize that non organic potatoes are sprayed with an anti growth chemical to keep them from sprouting.

janet April 17, 2010 at 2:52 PM  

Blessedmama, I agree, organic produce is often expensive, so I too buy some that is not organic, with my large family produce really adds up. But I try to only buy organic if it is on the dirty dozen list of the most contaminated. In my grandmother's day all produce was organic. Wish it still was today.

Kateri, thanks. It is amazing the amount of chemicals that are used on our food. It seems like the cost of the chemicals alone should make conventional produce more expensive than organic. Sadly that isn't the case.

Claudia April 17, 2010 at 9:31 PM  

How wonderfully sweet this is. I appreciate the info on organic vs non-organic. Help me to fuel my arguments!

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