The humble potato is the world’s most popular vegetable, due to its versatility and ready availability.
In our house, the one thing that is never empty is the potato bin, and it’s also the only thing that all my kids will agree on eating. For us, there is nothing more comforting than fluffy mashed potatoes, glistening with butter and dotted here and there with crispy sausages, drowning in gravy.
Potatoes tend to get bad press due to their high carbohydrate content, but potatoes are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium and B vitamins. Potato skins are a wonderful source of fiber, and are fat free.
There are more than 4,000 varieties of potato, and each one has its own sugar profile, which makes them good for different things. The best potato for mashing is the Yukon Gold, as it is lower in starch than others, while the best spud for roasting is the Maris Piper, because they tend to be more floury.
Although it is assumed that potatoes originated in Ireland due to the well-known ‘Irish Potato Famine’, they were first cultivated in Peru around 8,000 to 5,000 B.C. They didn’t gain real popularity in Europe until about 1975 when they started to appear more on the meal tables due to a push for healthy eating.
Interesting fact: The word potato comes from the Spanish word patata.
Written by Kate Davies, Full Steam Pictures Media Manager.