This root vegetable is probably one of the most popular vegetables in our contemporary world. It has come a long way from its atmosphere thin origins in the South American mountain ranges.
Long before the potato reached the shores of the Emerald Isle, it was widely cultivated some 7,000 years before its introduction in Europe. The Western World didn’t even come across it before about the mid-sixteenth century and it would not make it into the Old World for another couple of decades.
This rugged tuber met resistance at first. The potato was believed to be poisonous due to the fact it is a member of the poisonous”Nightshade” family. A green potato as an example, contains a substance called”solanine” which tastes bitter and can make people ill. When first introduced to the Old World, it was used to feed prisoners and the infirm.
It wasn’t until the late eighteenth century the potato would be raised from its lowly station. Ireland began to cultivate the potato around 1780. The Irish became so reliant on this addiction result in a population explosion resulting in famine. The Irish Potato Famine hit around 1845. People starved or ate grass and weeds to ward off hunger. Today the potato has become a staple in many countries including the USA, where it is currently grown in all 50 states.
Did you know?
Potatoes are grown in over 125 countries throughout the world.
Germans eat twice as many potatoes as Americans do. Americans eat an average of about 125 pounds annually!
It is said that Thomas Jefferson introduced”French Fries” to America after serving them in a White House Dinner.
An 8-ounce baked or boiled potato has only about 100 calories.