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Potatoes King of the Pantry

September 5, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Potatoes are nutritious, filling, tasty and inexpensive. They’re an economical side dish that is easy to prepare a variety of different ways.

Potatoes were an established crop when the Irish came to America. They were grown in Peru and Bolivia thousands of years ago. The Incan civilization held the potato in such high regard it was considered the key to their life and food security. Not only could the potato be easily grown but it also prepared and stored several ways. Today China, Russia, India and the US lead the world in potato production.

The Irish became particularly dependent on the potato for survival and as blight attacked the plants, wiping out crops that were not only income but food, millions died of starvation. Those who left Ireland did. The potato was saved due to a strain in South America that was blight resistant.

Today we have improved varieties of potato including the Russet, red, gold, purple and other varieties as well as the sweet potato. Potatoes can be grown for eating fresh or for processing. Most of the potatoes sold for processing go for frozen French-fry-processing, but there are also processing for chips and dehydrating.

Today Americans keep potatoes for farmers at around $8.80 per hundred pounds. We ate, in 2008, an average of 51.9 pounds per year of frozen potatoes, 36.7 pounds fresh, 16.1 pounds of chips and 13.1 pounds of dehydrated potatoes per year. All of these statistics are down from the previous year except for dehydrated.

Potatoes are particularly an important crop for farmers in Idaho, Washington, Colorado, North Dakota and Maine, the top US potato states by recent USDA statistics. America also exports

Potatoes are today a healthy snack. A medium sized potato has 100 calories which makes it low calorie also! They also are an excellent source of potassium making them heart healthy as well. A potato with skin has 720mg of potassium – in comparison a medium banana has 400 mg and a medium stalk of broccoli has 540mg. They also hold vitamin C and can be prepared so many ways!

Potato does have a caution – nothing green from the potato plant should ever be eaten. Potato skins may turn green and while not toxic it may cause digestive upset. More than this the leaves and plants should never be eaten. As a member of the nightshade family it’s not worth taking a chance.

You can also dehydrate potatoes at home. Shred, blanch 2 minutes in hot water then cool slightly and put in the dehydrator. Boxed potatoes without the box! There’s even recipes for potato breads and doughnuts to further show the potato’s versatility in the kitchen.

Here’s 20 ways to use potatoes in the diet!

1.Stove Top Potato Bread

2.Twice Baked Potatoes

3. Crispy Hash Browns

4. Baked Potato Bread

5. Potato Skins with Cheese & Bacon

6. Breakfast Casserole II

7. Survival Chunky Potato & Ham Soup

8. Turnip & Potato Patties

9. Seasoned Fan Potatoes

10. Loaded Baked Potato Soup

11. Irish Potato Apple Cake

12. Potato Dumplings

13. Salsa Potato Patties

14. Garlicky Mashed Potatoes

15. Restaurant Style Potato Salad

16. Latin Roasted Butter Golds

17.Skillet Beef & Potatoes

18. Purple Potatoes with Caramelized Onions & Shiitake Mushrooms

19. Potato Croquettes

20. Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

Check out the lowly potato. It’s common and often overlooked. Look at new ways to serve this healthy treat to celebrate potato month every month.

  • Potatoes have more potassium than bananas.
  • They’re versatile in food from appetizers to desserts.
  • There’s several colors and types of potatoes available.
  • Did you know –
    Potatoes will grow in a variety of conditions but their best growth comes in full sun, with light, well tilled soil that is slightly acid.
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