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These roast potatoes have a colorful difference

Recipe: Roasted purple potatoes with Provencal herbs

Unlike some purple vegetables, these potatoes retain their color when roasted.

Unlike some purple vegetables, these potatoes retain their color when roasted. Debbie Arrington

What’s the perfect herb to go with purple potatoes? Lavender, of course!
bowl-purple-potatoes.jpg
Just harvested and washed.

Lavender flowers are part of the distinctive mixture that makes up Herbs de Provence, which also includes rosemary, marjoram, thyme, savory and other herbs native to southern France. Combined with garlic salt and coarse ground black pepper, this herb mix is a flavorful complement to roast potatoes – no matter the color.

Purple potatoes taste much like their white- or yellow-fleshed cousins (their flavor and texture are usually compared to russets). They tend to cook a little faster and don’t need peeling. They can be substituted into almost any recipe that calls for a starchy potato.

The main difference: Antioxidants. Purple potatoes have about three times the antioxidants of a white-fleshed potato.

Purple potatoes get their distinctive hue from anthocyanin, the same compound found in blueberries. Half a baked purple potato has just as much of this antioxidant as a half cup of blueberries.

Unlike some colorful veggies, purple potatoes retain their rich color when cooked, which makes them a fun food to try. (Purple fries, anyone?)

Try these roasted purple potatoes as a side dish to grilled or roast meat, fish or chicken.

Provencal purple potatoes

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 pound purple potatoes, washed and eyes removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

1 teaspoon garlic salt

½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

½ cup chopped onion

Instructions:

one-purple-potato.jpg
Still purple inside when cooked.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a sheet pan with foil. Set aside.

Depending on size, cut purple potatoes into wedges or quarters.

In a large bowl, mix olive oil, herbs, garlic salt and pepper. Toss potatoes in herb mixture to coat and spread potatoes in foil-lined pan. Toss chopped onion in bowl with remaining oil and herbs, then add the onions to the potatoes in the sheet pan.

Bake in a 400-degree oven until the potatoes are fork tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve.

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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