My husband and I have about ten large (25 Gallon) Smart Pots that we use for growing potatoes every summer. We grow them in Smart Pots because we can place them outside of the fenced veggie garden since the bunnies don’t eat the potato greens. Being in the bags protects the tubers from wireworms, and makes them easy to harvest. But we grow far too many to hold successfully in a “root cellar” situation. Yes, many of them go into the spare refrigerator in the garage, and I cut up some into French Fries, parboil, toss with olive oil and freeze for future air-frying. But by far the most satisfying means to store many of our potatoes is to make them into Garden Twice-Baked.
A Twice-Baked Potato (aka Jacket Potato) is simply a spud that has been baked in the oven, then cut in half so the interior can be scooped out and mixed with assorted ingredients, then piled back into the shell to be baked a second time. Many times the ingredients added aren’t as good for you as the potatoes themselves: sour cream, cheese, butter, and bacon are all commonly added to a twice-baked, upping their salt and fat content significantly. But although those additions are delicious, they aren’t the only possibilities, and if you have a vegetable garden there are options that are far healthier and more tasty.
Just about any other vegetable can be steamed or sautéed and added to the potato filling. I have used broccoli, chard, kale, beans and winter squash. I mash the potato with a hand masher or the pastry cutter, then add olive oil and the finely chopped vegetable of my choice. Often I will also put in chopped chives and parsley, along with some parmesan cheese if they aren’t intended for vegan dining.
After you combine the filling and scoop it back into the half skin, you can top with chopped herbs, smoked paprika, freshly ground pepper or the spice of your choice. (Try cumin…a good flavor for potatoes that’s often overlooked.) Place the tray of stuffed skins in the freezer for overnight. The next day, pack these twice-baked into bags or cartons to hold until you’re ready to bake and eat them.
I liked doing these because they make an easy and delicious side dish that can be taken out of the freezer, baked at 350° and then eaten 35 minutes later. This is fast food that is good for you!