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When I was in college, I ate a lot of ramen. It tasted good, it was stupid cheap, and when I had the money I could easily dress it up with veggies and meat for a full, filling meal.
I got a little bit older and started eating rice. I was working out a lot then, and the quintessential “healthy” meal is chicken breasts, rice, beans, and broccoli. Carbs, fat, protein. It was affordable and certainly healthier than the salty, MSG-filled ramen I was relying on before.
Now, though, I’ve gone back to my ancestral Irish roots and rediscovered a frugal food that isn’t exactly ignored, but it rarely comes up when younger people talk about budget-friendly foods. And to me, potatoes are the ultimate budget-friendly food.
Potatoes Are Freaking Cheap!
Look, potatoes are easy to produce in large quantities, and they can be stored for literally months. These are the ideal economic ingredients for a cheap, cheap food.
On top of that, potatoes can be harvested by a machine easily, which means they are less labor intensive than other foods.
They can grow in terrible soil and still be delicious, too, so otherwise unused land can be used to grow delicious potatoes.
That’s why you can find prices of $3 for 10 pounds of potatoes. It’s an easy to produce crop that doesn’t ask for much more than water and sunshine.
Potatoes Are Nutritious!
If you’re looking for a carby source of calories, look no further. These bad boys have not only carbs, but also a lot of micronutrients (just make sure you eat the skin, too).
This comfort food has good amounts of iron, vitamin C, phytonutrients like flavonoids and carotenoids, vitamin B6, and potassium.
Potatoes even have a moderate amount of protein and fiber. All they lack is some fat, which is easily remedied with delicious cheese or butter.
Potatoes Are Easy And Cheap To Grow!
As I said in point one, potatoes can be grown in almost any condition. They require less effort to keep healthy than most other crops you could grow in your back yard, and they can even be grown in just a trash bag.
For very little effort, you can grow pounds and pounds of food that will make all of the meals they are included in more filling. Plus, you get to tell everyone eating with you that you grew those potatoes yourself!
The real benefit of home grown potatoes is that you can decide whether or not to use pest treatments or go organic. Potatoes are on the dirty dozen list of produce most likely to absorb nasty things like pesticides. Don’t risk it, and grow your own instead. You’ll be healthier in the long run, which saves money on medical bills down the line.
Potatoes Have Soooo Many Uses!
Yeah, you can bake potatoes. You can mash potatoes. But you can do so much more with the humble potato, my friend. For one thing, there are a ton of different ways to cook a potato.
This video has 63 ways to cook potatoes.
Admittedly some of these methods are… not great!
Some of the most popular ways to serve potatoes are:
- Potato salad
- French fries
- Mashed potatoes
- Hash browns
- Au gratin
- Baked potatoes
- Potato soup
- Potato chips
My favorite way to cook potatoes is to make roasted potatoes. And yeah, I used to actually put them in the oven, but now I just throw them in my crockpot on high for 2 hours. Make sure you coat your crockpot with butter or a spray oil, then add the potatoes and some olive oil.
To take that basic recipe and really make it sing, throw in some salt, pepper, raw diced garlic, and parmesan. Trust me, you’ll thank me later!
Looking for more ways to serve those potatoes? Then these 25 potato recipes will help!
So Buy A Bag Of Potatoes And Make That Money Stretch!
Obviously you shouldn’t only eat potatoes… but you shouldn’t only eat rice or (eek!) ramen, either. If you can master the many ways to cook and eat potatoes, you’ll be sure to make your grocery budget stretch further than most other families.
That’s especially true if you grow your own potatoes! So get out there and grow a couple hundred pounds. Your family will never go hungry if you have potato plants growing in your back yard!