Information about Vegetables: Potato

About potatoes, information about the vegetable, production, history and varieties in the world.

Potato

The potato, a member of the huge deadly nightshade family, originated in South America, where it began to be cultivated around 2500 B.C. What are sometimes called Irish potatoes are not Irish at all, but were introduced into that country in the middle of the 17th century. Potatoes quickly became the staple crop there because they were one of the few things that would grow in poor soil. However, the Irish became so dependent on the potato that when severe crop failures occurred in the 1840s, millions of Irish were forced to migrate to the U.S. Potatoes were introduced to the U.S. in 1719, and now Maine, Idaho, and California lead the field in production. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, iron, amino acids, protein, thiamine, vitamin G, and nicotinic acid. (Contrary to popular opinion, they are not notably high in calories--it's the butter and gravy that are fattening.) Make a habit of eating the skin; most of the vitamins and minerals lie just beneath it.

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