Potatoes


The potato is the world’s most widely grown tuber crop and the fourth largest food crop in terms of produce behind rice, wheat and maize. The potato originated in the area of Peru and Bolivia and in the late 1500’s was introduced in Europe. It quickly became an important food staple and field crop. However, it lacked genetic diversity, as only a few varieties were initially introduced which left it vulnerable to disease. In 1845, a fungal disease spread rapidly through western Ireland, resulting in the Great Irish Potato Famine.

In the United States, the contemporary potato is strongly associated with Idaho, Maine, and North Dakota. However, in actuality the potato has experienced its greatest crop growth in Asia, In fact, as of 2007 approximately 80% of the world’s potato crop is grown in that region of the world.

There are very few foods that are as nutritious and versatile as the potato. Along with carbohydrates, it provides the body important vitamins and minerals, including potassium, niacin, as well as vitamins B and C, particularly when consumed with the skins on. Potatoes will keep for a long time when stored in a cool dry place. Green potatoes can be toxic if consumed in large quantities, so they should not be eaten, and sprouts should be removed before cooking.

Today, there are a number of potato varieties and the chart below outlines some of the more popular and recommended uses:

Variety of Potato

Description

Recommended Use

Purple Viking

Purple Skin – Creamy White Flesh

Baking and Mashing

Red Bliss

Red Skin Potato

Potato Salad and Roasting

Russet or Idaho

Brown Skin

Basic Baking Potato

Russian Banana

Golden Skin

Mashing

White Rose

Golden Skin

All Purpose Potato – Great for Potato Salad

Yellow Fingerlings

Yellow

Roasting

Yellow Finn

Light Skin – Yellow Flesh

Boiled or Baked

Yukon Gold

Light Skin – Yellow Flesh

Roasting, Baking or Mashing

Source: Wikipedia, Whole Foods Markets