Featured Ingredient — By Ben on 06 August 2008
13 facts about potatoes

To keep the healthy and frugal air that this blog has taken this summer I want to talk about one super food that most of us love. Yup I am talking about those naughty guys from this post, potatoes. Here are 13 facts about them that will make you love them even more:

  1. There are about about 100 varieties of edible potatoes. They are often classified as either mature potatoes (the large potatoes that we are generally familiar with) and new potatoes (those that are harvested before maturity and are of a much smaller size).
  2. They originated in the Andean mountain region of South America between 4,000 and 7,000 years ago and were introduce to Europe by Spanish explorers who “discovered” them in the 16th century.
  3. At first many people in Europe were suspicious of them because they were not mentioned in the Bible and some others thought they were poisonous.
  4. It is thought that potatoes were brought to the U.S. by Irish immigrants in the 18th century, but they didn’t become popular until the 19th century.
  5. An historical event centered around them when in 1845 and 1846, a blight ruined most of the potato crop in Ireland and caused major devastation: this event is known as the Irish Potato Famine
  6. Analysis of Red and Norkotah potatoes revealed that these spuds’ phenolic content rivals that of broccoli, spinach and Brussels sprouts, and includes flavonoids with protective activity against cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems and certain cancers.
  7. UK scientists at the Institute for Food Research have identified blood pressure-lowering compounds called kukoamines in potatoes.
  8. A cup of baked potato contains 21.0% of the daily value of vitamin B6, which is involved in more than 100 enzymatic reactions.
  9. Vitamin B6 plays numerous roles in our nervous system, many of which involve neurological activity.
  10. A single baked potato will also provide you with 11.7% of the daily value for fiber, but remember that the fiber in potatoes is mostly in their skin.
  11. Vitamin B6 is also necessary for the breakdown of glycogen, the form in which sugar is stored in our muscle cells and liver, so this vitamin is a key player in athletic performance and endurance.
  12. Methylation is important to cardiovascular health and the vitamin B6 found in potatoes plays a critical role in this chemical process.
  13. 2008 has been declared the International Year of the Potato by the United Nations. Potatoes, the website claims, is the crop of the future that could feed and increasingly hungry world.

There you have it. Thirteen facts about potatoes that will make you love them even more (but try not to eat them as French fries, fried chips or with tons of butter and sour cream, that kinda defeats the purpose).

Sources for this post:

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grew up around food. His family owned a restaurant in Mexico City and he spent a big deal of his childhood helping and learning after school the art of creating delicious dishes from simple ingredients. He created this blog to share his kitchen adventures with the world.

(18) Readers Comments

  1. Oh I love potatoes…..especially roast potatoes….and mashed….and theres a nice recipe for honey garlic roasted potatoes….mmm yummmm.

  2. Oh I love potatoes…..especially roast potatoes….and mashed….and theres a nice recipe for honey garlic roasted potatoes….mmm yummmm.

  3. I love potatoes! Too bad most of the time they are fattening. :)

  4. Thank you for these facts about one of the very few vegetables I can eat.

  5. Thanks for the potato info. Very informative. Potatoes are a great cheap addition to any diet.

    Here’s another tip. You said potatoes have lots of B6. Vitamin B6 has been shown to have great affects on those with carpal tunnel syndrome.

    Cool huh?

  6. I love potatoes. It’s another one of those frugal foods people take for granted along with beans and rice. BUT! I must admit that I do take my baked potato with butter and sour cream. I also love Papas con Chorizo (diced potatoes with chorizo sausage). So there you go…guilty as charged. Thanks for the great post Ben.

  7. Informative! Right, Ben, now what is the size of a medium russet potato? I was trying to figure this out while making potato bread the other day, as the recipe called for 2 medium potatoes. I couldn’t figure it out, but 4 small potatoes, cooked and riced, came out to 13 ounces.

  8. Pomegranate and Potato Fun Facts on Thursday.

    It’s been awhile since I did TT, glad to be back.

    Wishing you and yours health, balance and joy.

    Danielle
    Modern Musings’ Thursday Thirteen 01

  9. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. #9 is really helpful. Happy TT

  10. The international year of the potato. Really?

    I didn’t relize there were so many types of potatos. I thought just red….small white ones and the large baking potatos.

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