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The many uses of Irish potato

Published:Thursday | March 31, 2016 | 3:00 AMOrantes Moore
Home economist Hassane Gordon displays products made from Irish potato.

PORT MARIA, St Mary:

One of the most fascinating booths at St Mary Agri-Expo 2016, which took place earlier this week in Annotto Bay, was hosted by a local community group that spent the afternoon sharing a plethora of ingenious uses for the Irish potato.

According to the Port Maria Home Economics Movement's public relations officer, Hassane Gordon, for a cook operating on a limited budget, a few pounds of Irish potatoes can produce a wide variety of delicious meals and drinks.

She told Rural Xpress: "Our group tries to educate people that instead of wasting food, they can utilise the crops our farmers grow. We've got 19 members and have been operating since 2000 under the Rural Agricultural Development Authority.

"Today, we're displaying a series of products and trying to show people new and different uses for Irish potatoes. [French] fries and potato salads are pretty regular, so today, we have samples of things like Irish potato pudding, fruitcake, bread, casserole, and punch.

"We're just trying to help save money and learn more about food. For example, very few people know that you can use Irish potatoes to make an Easter bun. Instead of going out to the supermarket or bakery, all you have to do is cook some Irish potatoes, crush them, add a stout, some sugar, and a Malta, and you can come up with something very quickly if money is tight."

Gordon insists that when balancing the household budget becomes problematic, it is possible to cut back on expenses without comprising on quality or nutrition.

She explained: "As a single mother, sometimes you can't afford certain things in the supermarket, but if you know what to do and how to be creative, you can make a valuable meal from some simple things.

"With a pound of Irish potatoes that costs just $100, by adding just a few simple things, you can create a $1,000 meal. It's all about learning to utilise and make the best of what you have."

EMPOWERING WOMEN

This year's Agri-Expo was launched under the theme, 'Empowering women and youth through agriculture', and Gordon praised the event's organisers for putting the spotlight on females.

She said: "Events like this are so important because you have people in the community from near and far who will come to experience the things that are on offer, so it's a great opportunity for exposure and to show people new items.

"Focusing on women is a good idea because if more of us plant and grow our own products, we won't need to keep going to the supermarket for certain things, which helps us to save money.

"Instead of going to buy Irish potato, yam, banana, and other vegetables, get them from your own backyard, and then you can use the money you have saved to do something else."

rural@gleanerjm.com