More than 41 billion pounds of potatoes
are enjoyed each year by U.S. consumers.
Packed with essential vitamins and
minerals, one medium potato (5.3 ounces)
with the skin boasts more potassium than
a banana, provides 45 percent of the
recommended Daily Value of vitamin C,
has just 110 calories and is fat-,
sodium- and cholesterol-free. The value
of all potatoes sold in 2010, at $3.45
billion, increased 5 percent from the
previous year. California ranks 10th in
potato production. Washington is top
Potato dates to 500 B.C. first
1719 - Potatoes had been introduced to the United States several times throughout the 1600s. They were not widely grown for almost a century until 1719, when they were planted in Londonderry, New Hampshire, by Scotch-Irish immigrants, and from there spread across the nation.
Purchasing & Storing Potatoes
When shopping for potatoes, look for potatoes that are firm and smooth. Avoid potatoes with wrinkled or wilted skins, soft dark areas, cut surfaces, and those that are green in appearance.
If you need several potatoes for your recipe that you are making, choose ones that are similar in size for even cooking.
When selecting potatoes, choose new potatoes for boiling and salads. They have thinner skins and are firmer.
Potatoes should be kept in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. the ideal storage temperature is 45 to 50 degrees F. At these temperature, the potatoes will keep for several weeks. Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator, as a temperature below 40 degrees F. will cause the potatoes to develop a sweet taste. This is due to the conversion of starch to sugar, which causes potatoes to darken when cooked.
If you store potatoes at room temperature, use them within a week or so.
It is not recommended that you freeze cooked potato dishes, as they tend to become watery after reheating. As the potato is 80% water, this water separates from the starch causing the reheated potato dish to be watery.
Potato Sprouts are toxic (poisonous)
A sprout of any size can be toxic, but you'd have to eat many sprouts to get sick. Do not buy if they have sprouted or have a green tint to the skin. There is no problem with the potato; just cut off the sprouts, and it's fine for eating.
The same is true for potatoes that turn a greenish hue. A potato in this condition is "light-struck" which causes a build-up of a chemical called Solanine. This is a natural reaction to the potato being exposed to too much light. The green part, if eaten in large quantity, can cause illness. If there is slight greening, cut away the green portions of the potato skin before cooking and eating.