NATIONAL POTATO LOVERS DAY

February 8, 2012 at 10:08 AM | Posted in baking, diabetes friendly, grilling, potatoes | 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Did you know that TODAY is National Potato Lovers Day! How will you celebrate? Souplantation/ Sweet Tomatoes has baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, Loaded Baked Potato Soup w/bacon, Irish Potato Leek Soup, and two kinds of potato salad. Happy National Potato Lovers Day!

The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosumof the Solanaceae family (also known as the

Potato cultivars appear in a huge variety of colors, shapes, and sizes

nightshades). The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species. Potatoes were first introduced outside the Andes region four centuries ago, and have become an integral part of much of the world’s cuisine. It is the world’s fourth-largest food crop, following rice, wheat, and maize. Long-term storage of potatoes requires specialised care in cold warehouses.

Wild potato species occur throughout the Americas, from the United States to Uruguay. The potato was originally believed to have been domesticated independently in multiple locations, but later genetic testing of the wide variety of cultivars and wild species proved a single origin for potatoes in the area of present-day southern Peru (from a species in the Solanum brevicaule complex), where they were domesticated 7,000–10,000 years ago. Following centuries of selective breeding, there are now over a thousand different types of potatoes.[6] Of these subspecies, a variety that at one point grew in the Chiloé Archipelago (the potato’s south-central Chilean sub-center of origin) left its germplasm on over 99% of the cultivated potatoes worldwide.

Following the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire, the Spanish introduced the potato to Europe in the second half of the 16th century. The staple was subsequently conveyed by European mariners to territories and ports throughout the world. The potato was slow to be adopted by distrustful European farmers, but soon enough it became an important food staple and field crop that played a major role in the European 19th century population boom. However, lack of genetic diversity, due to the very limited number of varieties initially introduced, left the crop vulnerable to disease. In 1845, a plant disease known as late blight, caused by the fungus-like oomycete Phytophthora infestans, spread rapidly through the poorer communities of western Ireland, resulting in the crop failures that led to the Great Irish Famine. Thousands of varieties still persist in the Andes however, where over 100 cultivars might be found in a single valley, and a dozen or more might be maintained by a single agricultural household. Besides the need of ensuring proper genetic diversity of a crop, it also underscores the need of depending on several staple crops, and to preferably choose staple crops that are endemic and thus adapted to the local environment.

The annual diet of an average global citizen in the first decade of the 21st century included about 73 lb of potato. However, the local importance of potato is extremely variable and rapidly changing. It remains an essential crop in Europe (especially eastern and central Europe), where per capita production is still the highest in the world, but the most rapid expansion over the past few decades has occurred in southern and eastern Asia. China is now the world’s largest potato-producing country, and nearly a third of the world’s potatoes are harvested in China and India.

Potatoes are prepared in many ways: skin-on or peeled, whole or cut up, with seasonings or without. The only requirement involves cooking to swell the starch granules. Most potato dishes are served hot, but some are first cooked, then served cold, notably potato salad and potato chips/crisps.

Common dishes are: mashed potatoes, which are first boiled (usually peeled), and then mashed with milk or yogurt and butter; whole baked potatoes; boiled or steamed potatoes; French-fried potatoes or chips; cut into cubes and roasted; scalloped, diced, or sliced and fried (home fries); grated into small thin strips and fried (hash browns); grated and formed into dumplings, Rösti or potato pancakes. Unlike many foods, potatoes can also be easily cooked in a microwave oven and still retain nearly all of their nutritional value, provided they are covered in ventilated plastic wrap to prevent moisture from escaping; this method produces a meal very similar to a steamed potato, while retaining the appearance of a conventionally baked potato. Potato chunks also commonly appear as a stew ingredient.

Potatoes are boiled between 10 and 25 minutes, depending on size and type, to become soft.

In the United States, potatoes have become one of the most widely consumed crops and thus have a variety of preparation methods and condiments. French fries and often hash browns are commonly found in typical American fast-food burger joints and cafeterias.

French fries served with a hamburger

One popular favorite involves a baked potato with cheddar cheese (or sour cream and chives) on top, and in New England “smashed potatoes” (a chunkier variation on mashed potatoes, retaining the peel) have great popularity. Potato flakes are popular as an instant variety of mashed potatoes, which reconstitute into mashed potatoes by adding water, with butter or oil and salt to taste. A regional dish of Central New York, salt potatoes are bite-size new potatoes boiled in water saturated with salt then served with melted butter. At more formal dinners, a common practice includes taking small red potatoes, slicing them, and roasting them in an iron skillet. Among American Jews, the practice of eating latkes (fried potato pancakes) is common during the festival of Hanukkah.

A traditional Acadian dish from New Brunswick is known as poutine râpée. The Acadian poutine is a ball of grated and mashed potato, salted, sometimes filled with pork in the center, and boiled. The result is a moist ball about the size of a baseball. It is commonly eaten with salt and pepper or brown sugar. It is believed to have originated from the German Klöße, prepared by early German settlers who lived among the Acadians.

Poutine, by contrast, is a hearty serving of French fries, fresh cheese curds and hot gravy. Tracing its origins to Quebec in the 1950s, it has become a widespread and popular dish throughout Canada.

3 Comments »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. Potato Salad I think!

    Well written, informative post. Thanks for sharing!

    MR

  2. Reblogged this on At Grandma's Table and commented:
    Potato Salad I think!

    Well written, informative post. Thanks for sharing!

    MR

  3. Celebrate Potato Lovers Month with these blogger recipes too: http://blog.idahopotato.com/


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

Jarka's Healing Kitchen

Food is Medicine

Amanda's Vintage Pantry

homemade food from inspiring recipes

Rachel's allotment gardening blog

Helping you to grow your own edible gardens

Come Home For Comfort

Inspiration To Make Your Home A Place Of Comfort

Papas Cutting Board

Tried and True Recipes

Blissful Bites by Laura

Recipes made from wholesome ingredients!

Simple Mediterranean Goodness

Simple Mediterranean dishes in 30 minutes or less. Inspired by three generations of Greek cooking.

Well By Mel Nutrition

Easy, healthy recipes for busy people

Divine Life Kitchen

Plant Centric Food to Nourish Your Body and Soul

Art Farm Oregon

Bringing country life to the city!

A Jeanne in the Kitchen

I have created this site to help people have fun in the kitchen. I write about enjoying life both in and out of my kitchen. Life is short! Make the most of it and enjoy!

Bruna's Table

Italian Food with a twist

Cooking with Carbs

From Pastries to Pasta - Food That Brings Joy

Ten Pound Cake Company

Culinary True Confessions

Fantastic Facts

and where to find them

%d bloggers like this: