The humble potato was domesticated in the South American Andes some 8,000 years ago. It made its first appearance in Europe in the mid-1500s, having been brought from South America by the Spaniards. As a diet for the native population, it proved to be ideal. Today they’re a staple food in many parts of the world and an integral part of much of the world’s food supply.
Potatoes can be devided in two categories: floury or waxy. Waxy potatoes hold their shape and have a firm bite, so they’re great for salads or simply boiled. Floury potatoes, on the other hand, fluff up when they’re cooked, making them perfect for fries, roast potatoes or baking.
Another useful fact: did you know that there are three main types of potatoes? First earlies, second earlies and maincrop. These names indicate when potatoes crop.
When purchasing potatoes observe and touch: choose a firm potato with a homogenic colour and check for green, black or soft spots and sprouts.
Place the potatoes in a cardboard box, paper bag, mesh bag, or basket to ensure good ventilation. Store your potatoes in a cool (between 6 and 8°C), humid and dark place, potatoes are not fond of light! The basement or a crisper drawer are ideal storage places.
Last but not least, to prolong their shelf life add an apple amidst the potatoes. This may look random but apples, as part of the ripening process, give off ethylene gas, which prevents potatoes from sprouting.
Potatoes are an excellent source of starch and contain no fat if eaten boiled or baked. They are also an important source of vitamin C (providing more than one third of our daily requirement), vitamin B6, potassium and fiber. They’re also full of antioxidants and are gluten free. Compared to rice and pasta, the potato has less calories and is therefore a good substitute.