January 28, 2009
Table of Contents
History of the Potato
The Potato Selection
Cooking the Potatoes
Potatoes are considered one of the most popular vegetables in Canada and the United States. The United States grows about 35 billion pounds of potatoes every year, which averages out to about to 126 pounds of potatoes, per American, per year. This seems like a ridiculous amount but with potatoes being high in vitamin C, potassium and fibre, it isn’t that bad.
2. History of the Potato
Most of the research I did regarding the history of potatoes suggested that they were planted more than 6,000 years ago by ancestors of the Incas (Peru). Peruvians, the people of Peru, were very proud of their potatoes. Near the end of the 1500s, potatoes were brought to England from South America. In 1621, Captain Nathaniel Butler brought potatoes to America. My research also showed that Irish settlers were the first to cultivate potatoes extensively for North America. Understandably, the more Irish immigrants that moved to America, the more demand for potatoes grew. This led to potatoes becoming a major crop in the United States. As I mentioned in the introduction, the U.S. now grows about 35 billion pounds of potatoes every year.
3. The Potato Selection
There are many different varieties of potatoes all over the world. Some are used for specific meals and others are used in an assortment of foods. The following varieties I found in the article “The Important Facts on Potatoes”. (www.putnam.k12.il.us/Potatoes.htm)
-Yukon Golds (great mashed potatoes, buttery and creamy look because of golden color) -Fingerlings (look like stubby fingers, lots of flavour, great roasted, sautéed, boiled, steamed, grilled, or fried) -Ruby Crescent Banana Fingerling (ruby red skins, yellow inside, popular in Nouveau Cuisine) - Russets (baking potatoes, excellent fried and mashed, they are high in starch which is good for mashing/fluff) - Red Potatoes (has less starch, better for potato salad, au gratin) -Purple Potatoes (naturally purple, tons of antioxidant, naturally creamy flavor/texture) - Sweet Potatoes (popular during Thanksgiving, eat promptly) -The Japanese or Oriental Sweet Potato (beautiful pink to purple skin, best to grill, steam or bake) - Okinowa or Okinawa Sweet Potatoes (skin is light in color, pink to lavender to purple meat) - Garnett Sweet Potato (Purple Yam) (large with purple skin color, orange inside)
4. Cooking with Potatoes
With so many potatoes, it is obvious that there are many different ways to prepare them. A few different ones: Boiled, steamed, fried, baked, sautéed, roasted, and grilled. They can be prepared so many ways from mashing, frying, adding them to soups to just eating them all by themselves. (http://www.deliciousorganics.com/recipes/ potatoes.htm). The potato can be used during different stages of the meal (please see Recipes for more detail). * Appetizer (Baked Potato Soup, Stuffed Small Red Potato Appetizers) * Side (Crisp Two Potato Cake, Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes) * Dessert (Sweet Potato-Pecan Fluff Dessert, Japanese Sweet Potato Cake) 5. Conclusion
I was able to find some interesting facts over the course of my research. The following are some facts about potatoes from around the world (source: James T. Ehler)
The Japanese or Oriental Sweet Potato has a beautiful pink to purple skin and is white inside. They are used to make liquor in Japan and they are used to make desserts and snacks as well.
Potatoes are part of the nightshade family (Potatoes, Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant) while Sweet Potatoes are cousins of the morning-glory. Technically, everything in the nightshade family is a fruit, so that makes a potato a fruit. Mind blowing, I know....
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