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Potato Facts

Potatoes originally come from South America

It was the South Americans who first uncovered the secret of the potato beneath the soil high in the Andes Mountains of Peru more than 6,000 years ago. They were impressed by its ruggedness, storage quality and its nutritional value. Western man did not come in contact with the potato until as late as 1537 when the Conquistadors tramped through Peru. And it was even later, about 1570, that the first potato made its way across the Atlantic to make a start on the continent of Europe.

Potatoes came to Australia with the First Fleet, in 1788. They were one of the few foods that could withstand the many long months at sea. By the early 1800s, they were being grown throughout the new colony.

Potatoes are Good for You

Potatoes are:

  • a vegetable.
  • a good source of vitamins B and C.
  • a source of potassium and niacin.
  • high in complex carbohydrates.
  • high in fiber, if the skins are eaten.
  • fat-free and low in calories.

How to Store Potatoes

  • Handle potatoes gently. Bruised potatoes turn dark and begin to rot.
  • Store potatoes in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. When potatoes are correctly stored, they will remain fresh for up to a month.
  • If potatoes are stored in a warm place, such as under the sink, they may attract insects and rodents. They will sprout and shrivel. Throw away potatoes that are shriveled or have many sprouts.
  • If potatoes are stored where they are exposed to light, they turn green, produce a toxic substance, and develop a bitter flavor. Peel off green areas before using. Throw away potatoes that are mostly green.
  • If potatoes are stored at temperatures below 4 °C. or in the refrigerator, they develop a sweet taste and turn brown when cooked. If potatoes get cold, warm them to room temperature before cooking.

Green potatoes are not safe to eat

When a potato is exposed to light, it turns green by producing chlorophyll and it’s own protective chemical called glycoalkaloid. Elevated levels of glycoalkaloids are caused by exposure to light and also by bruising and rotting. Green potatoes may cause food poisoning and some of the symptoms are similar to gastroenteritis. It is advisable that people avoid eating green or bruised and damaged potatoes particularly pregnant women.

 

 

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