When we go out shopping, we settle in a restaurant. Order a pizza with our favourite French fries. French fries make our mouths water. We know that French fries are made of potatoes. We have read in our schooling that potato is an underground stem, it is made of Starch I.E. carbohydrates which are stored in the stem of the plant. There are more fascinating things to be known about a potato.
Scientific Name: Solanum tuberosum
Potato is a plant that is grown for its starchy tuber. It is grown the whole year. It is a member of the Solanaceae family. It is the fourth major food crop grown in the world following Rice, wheat, and maize. Its native is Peruvian – Bolivian Andes. Around 8,000 BC to 5,000 B.C, the Inca Indians in Peru cultivated potatoes for the first time. In 1536 Spanish Conquistadors, who captured Peru, carried potatoes to Europe. Potatoes spread all over Europe gradually after 4 decades. It came to India via invasions.
Idaho, the largest producer of potatoes now, actually began growing potatoes after 1836, when missionaries took an effort to teach the native tribes to grow crops instead of hunting and gathering foods. When the Russet Burbank variety was developed in 1872, the Idaho potato industry began to flourish. The first vegetable to be grown in space is Potato. NASA and the University of Wisconsin,
Madison, created this technology with the goal of feeding astronauts on long space voyages, and eventually, feeding future space colonies.
Diversity in Potatoes
Potatoes are always served as cooked food as a whole or mashed. Potatoes are not only golden in colour but also violet, red and thin.
There are many species in Potatoes, namely:
- Yukon Gold Potato
- Laura potato
- Ratte potato
- King Edward potato
- Kennebec potato
- Russet Burbank potato
- Melody Potato
- Russian Blue Potato
- Kerr’s pink potato
- Opperdoezer Ronde
- Salad potato
- Duke of york
KNOW MORE ABOUT POTATO VARIETIES
Vitelotte’ potatoes have dark blue skin and dark violet-blue flesh; they have a characteristic nutty flavour and smell of chestnuts. The colour is retained after it’s been cooked. The colour is due to natural pigments in the anthocyanin group of flavonoids. These plants mature late compared to modern varieties and are relatively low-yielding. Its tubers are elongated with sunken eyes and are thick-skinned. Laura is a firm-fleshed, edible potato ripening in the midseason. It is red-skinned and it has a rich potato-yellow flesh colour and an oval shape. In 1998, Laura was first recognised in Austria.
Bintje’s potato is a large oval-shaped tuber with pale yellow skin and yellow flesh. It has shallow eyes. The sprouts are purple. This is a high yielding variety and is widely grown in Europe and North Africa. It is used for boiling, baking, french fries, mashed potatoes and potato chips. It is the largest cultivated potato in France and Belgium. The Ratte potato is small. It has a unique nutty flavour and smooth, buttery texture. It has golden-yellow flesh. This potato is oval, with a slight curve and golden speckled skin. Its buttery texture is maintained even after it is cooked. The variety originated in Denmark or France in the 19th century.
The King Edward potato predominantly has white skin with pink colouration. It is mostly oval and has a floury texture and shallow eyes. It is one of the oldest surviving cultivated varieties in Europe. The King Edward potato is a main crop of the UK. It was named after the UK King Edward VII. The Kennebec plant has no pigment. It is big and erect, with thick stems that are bent. Potatoes are medium thick with an elliptical or oblong shape. Its skin is smooth and creamy with shallow eyes. This is a fast-growing variety and gives high yields. It maintains good quality in storage and is grown for both our use and chipping.
There are so many things to know about the potato variety. It’s good for our health even. They are delicious as well as nutritious. Potatoes are a good source of fibre. Many people believe the rumor that eating potatoes makes them obese. But it helps you lose weight. The fibre in potatoes can prevent heart disease by keeping cholesterol and blood sugar levels in control.
Potatoes are packed with antioxidants that lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. Eating coloured potatoes gives you more antioxidants. The skin of the potato can have up to 12 times more antioxidants than the flesh. So don’t forget to add potatoes to your balanced diet. And don’t eat potatoes with more butter, which can increase calories in food.