Sláinte! Try These Irish Foods for St. Patrick’s Day

By Julia Bauer
Image of pot with raw potatoes next to it on the counter

Although we may think of drinking and dancing when St. Patrick’s Day comes around, Ireland is known for more than its beer and whiskey. It is also known for growing some of our favorite fruits and vegetables, including potatoes, apples and cabbage. These fruits and veggies have been an important part of Irish cuisine for centuries. Try incorporating these Irish foods into your meals this St. Patty’s Day!


This probably comes as no surprise, but the potato is a historic staple of the Irish diet. It is believed that in 1585, English salesman Sir Walter Raleigh brought the crop to Ireland, according to the Irish Times. However, potatoes are very susceptible to disease, hence the Great Famine across Europe. From 1845 to 1849, Ireland’s potato crops were killed by blight, a disease caused by a water mold that destroys the crop’s edible roots, according to Britannica.

In honor of Irish history, make some potato salad, scalloped potatoes or baked potatoes this St. Patrick’s Day! Or try colcannon, a traditional Irish mashed potato dish that includes cabbage, cream and melted butter, according to Farmer’s Almanac. There is actually a traditional Irish folk song called “The Little Skillet Pot” by Mary Black that details the recipe for colcannon!


Apples are native to Ireland, and their history dates back 9,000 years ago to a Mesolithic settlement at Mount Sandel in Ireland, according to Irish America Magazine. The Irish Seed Savers Association, an organization that works to conserve the plants and food of Irish agriculture, has an entire conservation project dedicated to curating and preserving Irish Heritage apple orchards for its Native Irish Apple Collection.

There are many varieties of Irish Heritage Apples and many ways to eat them! This St. Patty’s Day, enjoy a glass of apple cider, a cup of applesauce or indulge in a piece of Irish apple pie.


A popular traditional Irish dish is corn beef and cabbage, thanks to the vegetable’s Irish roots! There is written evidence of Irish cabbage cultivation dating back to the 17th century, according to the Modern Farmer. During the potato famine, people turned to cabbage, causing crop production to increase. Today, cabbage is still an important part of Irish culture and the celebration of St. Patty’s Day. In fact, St. Patty’s Day is the biggest holiday for cabbage consumption in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This year, buy a head of cabbage and make cabbage soup or sautéed cabbage. Better yet, cook traditional corn beef — A.K.A. Irish bacon — and cabbage for your St. Patrick’s Day dinner!

By incorporating these fruits and veggies into your St. Patrick’s Day, you can celebrate the history and culture of Ireland while having fun. Cheers, or as the Irish would say, Sláinte!

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