The Potato Plant


The Potato Plant itself was a very important aspect
of the environment of the Great Famine.But, I still
wonder- what about it's flavour?  Has any cultural group
not liked the potato?
The Plant Itself Miscellaneous
Potato Facts
Purchase and
Potato Trivia Potato Production Potato in the
World Diet
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The Potato Plant

 1.Blossoms - potato blossoms are five-lobed, 2-3 cm in
diameter varying in color from white to deep bluish purple.
They resemble those of the related, and poisonous nightshade

2.Seedballs - flowering varieties produce seedballs which are
poisonous. Since the hundreds of tiny seeds in each ball may
vary genetically and unpredictably from the parent plant,
agriculture through the planting of the seed remains too risky
for commercial application. Seed is used, however, for the
 investigational production of new varieties. 
3.Potato - the potato itself is actually a tuber which forms as theswollen end of an underground stem. Its skin varies in color
from light brown to purple and the inside flesh varies from
white to purple in different varieties. The buds of aborted
leaves form the "eyes" of the potato. It is by planting chunks of
the potato containing these eyes that genetically identical
 potato plants are grown.-Source=potato expo

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Miscellaneous Potato Facts

1. The average American eats about 140.6
pounds of potatoes each year. That
average diet is broken into the following 

49.8 pounds Fresh potatoes

58.8 pounds Frozen - French fries,
hash browns, etc.

16.9 pounds Potato chips

13.4 pounds Dehydrated -
mashed potato flakes, au gratin mixes, etc.

1.7 pounds Canned

Source: USDA

2. Idaho is  are mentioned most often as a prefered
source for potatoes than 
is any other point of origin for any other crop.

Potatoes Idaho 82 percent
Source: 1994 Fresh Trends study conducted by The Packer, a produce industry weekly.

3. Nutritional facts. One serving of potato is one medium potato, about 5.5 ounces or 148 kilograms. Per Serving: Calories 120 Calories from fat: 0% of Daily Value, based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Total Fat 0g 0% 

Saturated Fat 0g 0%

Cholesterol 0mg 0%

Sodium 5mg 0%

Potassium 680mg 20%

Carbohydrates 27g 9%

Dietary Fiber 2g 9%

Sugars 3g

Protein 3g

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Purchase and Preparation
* What NOT to buy - Don't buy potatoes that are soft or that haveexcessive cuts, cracks, bruises, discoloration or decay. Also, avoid green potatoes; they have been exposed to light which means they are coming out of dormancy. If you buy green potatoes, simply pare awaythe green portion, which sometimes can be bitter.

* How to store potatoes - Store potatoes in a cool, dark place. They store very well at about 50 degrees but they should not be refrigerated because temperatures cooler than 45 converts potato starch to sugar, which changes the taste and causes the potatoes to darken when they're fried.

* Keep the skin - Cook with the skin on as much as possible to preserve all of the potato's abundant nutrition.

* Keep the water - Save the water used to steam or boil potatoes because some of the nutrients leached into it. Use the water for gravy or tomoisten mashed potatoes. Boiled potato chunks release some of their starch in the water, which can be used for break making.

* Frying - The high solids content of Idaho potatoes decreases oil absorption, which means you get crispier potatoes. High solids also result in less shrinkage when friend, so you get more to serve and eat. Also, previously steamed or baked potatoes only need to be heated and browned, so frying at a high temperature helps minimize sticking.

* Baking - Potatoes are done when a fork easily slip in and out. If microwaving, poke a few holes into the skin with a fork, and place

them about an inch apart. Turn potatoes once during cooking.

* Abomination! - Never bake Idaho potatoes in aluminum foil. Foil sealsin the moisture and steams the potato, making the texture pasty instead of dry and fluffy. Aluminum foil can be applied after baking, however, to hold the serving temperature longer.

* Skewers - If you use skewers to hasten the baking time of large potatoes, heat the skewers first. This seals the potato and prevents the center from turning dark.

* Becoming a connoisseur - You can tell an Idaho potato connoisseur because he or she will never open a baked potato with a knife. Instead, the connoisseur will poke a zigzag pattern into the top of the potato with a fork, then will press the ends of the potato together to open and "blossom" the potato. The connoisseur recognizesthat the blade of a knife flattens the surface and alters the premiumfluffy texture of the properly prepared Idaho potato.-source Idaho Potato Commision

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Little Known Facts

Today potatoes are grown in all 50 states of the USA and in about 125 countries throughout the world.

 The sweet potato belongs in the same family as morning glories while the white potato belongs to the same group as tomatoes, tobacco, chile pepper, eggplant and the petunia.

     The potato is about 80% water and 20% solids.

     The world's largest potato chip (on exhibit at the Potato Expo) was producedby the Pringle's Company in Jackson, TN in 1990. It measures 23" x 14.5".

     An 8 ounce baked or boiled potato has only about 100 calories.

     The average American eats about 124 pounds of potatoes per year whileGermans eat about twice as much.

     In 1974, an Englishman named Eric Jenkins grew 370 pounds of potatoes from one plant.

     Thomas Jefferson gets the credit for introducing "french fries" to America when he served them at a White House dinner.

     According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest potato grown
     was 7 pounds 1 ounce by J. East (1953) and J. Busby (1982) of Great Britain.
-Source =Potato Expo

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Potato Production Facts

Date: June 19, 1996

 Potato is the fourth most important food crop in the world after wheat, rice, and maize. Potato production represents roughly half of the world's annual output of all roots and tubers. Since the early 1960's, the percentage increase in area planted in developing countries has been higher than for any other major food crop. Production increases have been second only to wheat.

 Potato originated in the highlands of South America, most likely in the area now bordering Lake Titicaca. The Spanish introduced it in Europe in the 16th century as a botanical curiosity rather than a source of food.

 Annual world production currently totals 275 million tons and covers 18 million hectares. The Russian Federation ranks as the world's largest producer, followed closely by China. Together, the Russian Federation and Poland account for 28 percent of the world's total planted area; China and India account for a additional 22 percent.

 Currently, the potato sector worldwide is in transition. Europe and the former Soviet Union account for the bulk of production, but this situation is changing rapidly. In the early 1990's, some 30 percent of the global potato output was produced in developing countries, up from 11 percent in the early 1960s. If this trend continues, most of the world's potatoes will be harvested in Asia, Africa, or Latin America in less than a generation. As a result, potato is becoming an increasingly important source of food, rural employment and income for the growing populations in these regions.

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More than a billion people worldwide eat potato. The crop also represents an important part of the diet of more than half a billion consumers in developing countries. Although European per capita consumption has declined over the past three decades, Europe is still the largest per capita consumer, followed by North America and Latin America. According to FAO, per capita consumption during 1991-92 averaged as follows: Western Europe (79.3 kg), Eastern Europe (80.3 kg), USA (58.4 kg). For the developing world during this period, consumption averaged 11.7 kg in Asia, 8.0 kg in Africa, and 20.6 kg in Latin America.

 Read about the rest of the story in "Potato Facts". Potato Facts provides a compendium of key figures and analysis for 30 important potato-producing countries. It is available, free of charge in English, Spanish or French, from the Distribution Office of the International Potato Center (CIP):


International Potato Center (CIP)

Apartado 1558
Lima 100

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CIP Circular, Volume 21 (No. 3), December 1995 
Potatoes and Fungus Potato Miscellany page. Fungus 
Late Blight Simulation Software  Potato 
Science Update  Potato Recipes
The Irish Potato Famine 
An Gorta Mor-
History of 
the Famine
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