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The Long and Varied History of Potatoes

Updated on September 12, 2013

The Potato is Versatile

The potato is starchy, is versatile and useful as a side dish. It is a tuberous crop. The word "Potato" refers to the plant and the edible tuberous potato that grows beneath the ground. The potato can be boiled, fried, baked, and made into chips. The word, "potato" comes from the Spanish word, "Patata." The potato has a long, and varied history that goes back thousands of years ago. The potato's origin is thought to of started in the Andes Mountains of Peru, Chili and other countries around the Andes Mountain region. The potato wasn't accepted in Europe when it was first introduced. The vegetable was seen as strange, weird, poisonous, and downright evil. It took a long time for the potato to catch on with Europeans. The potato is inexpensive to grow, dependable, and is nutritious, and has a lot of vitamins and minerals. Potatoes are common and plentiful.

In China, people may see potatoes as peasant food, and they may mix them in with rice. When rice is scarce the potato may help to stretch the rice out. The younger generation in China may be more open to eating potatoes and especially french fries, because of the advertisements of fast food restaurants like McDonald's and KFC, which are so popular and well-known worldwide. The potato was the first vegetable ever to be grown in outer space.

A Russet Potato

A Russet Potato from a local grocery store
A Russet Potato from a local grocery store | Source

The Potato is a Great Vegetable

The potato is one of the most flavored of vegetables, especially with butter and is nutritional and a staple in the diet. Potatoes contains vitamins, minerals, and fiber,and they are rich in vitamin c, high in potassium, and a great source for fiber. Potatoes are versatile, they can be baked, mashed, fried, used in all kinds of recipes, and can be made into french fries and potato chips. Potatoes are popular all over the world. Potatoes are relatively cheap to buy. China and India are the largest producers of potatoes in the world today, with China in the lead. The potato were not so warmly welcomed in the past. People regarded it with suspicion, distaste, and were fearful. It took along time for the potato to gain worldwide acceptance.

The potatoe's origin goes back in time to the Andes Mountains, where it was first cultivated. The potato we know today was first domesticated several thousands of years ago. There are many different species of potatoes.There are wild varieties (species) of potatoes that still exist even today. Potato plants grow leaves that are poisonous. Potato plants belong to the night shade family, well-known for their poisons. Potatoes that are exposed to light long enough will turn their skins green. The green skins of a potatoes can make people sick if they eat it. Potatoes need to be stored in dark and cool places. Potatoes grow well in a cool climate. Potatoes shouldn't be stored in the refrigerator as they will taste sweet like sugar, which is not a good taste for potatoes.

A Commical Look At The Potato

The History of the Potato

The origin of the potato is believed to go back in time to the Andes Mountains, where the vegetable was first cultivated by the Inca Indians. The Inca Indians grew, ate, and hid potatoes in bins for emergency use. They called it (the potato) papa. The Incas worshiped the potato. The potato needed a cool climate, and the countries of Peru, Chili and other countries around the Andes Mountain region were ideal places for the crop to be be planted. The potato has a long history and has had many troubles along the way. There were diseases that attacked potato plants, for example: potato blight that led to the Great Irish Famine, which caused about one million deaths, and the migration of around one million Irish to Great Britain, the United States, Canada, and other places.

The Potato Song

Potato

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    • Aisla profile image

      Carolyn Mikkelsen 5 years ago from Norway

      Fantastic you are the first person i have seen writing about the potato apart from me hahaha Well done Tattie friend Nice hub.

    • gail641 profile image
      Author

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Thanks, I thought the potato was real interesting and it has a lot of history behind it. I think the banana would make a good hub.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      The potato song is hilarious! Nice to see another Iowan and potato lover here on Hubpages. : )

    • gail641 profile image
      Author

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      I thought the potato song was pretty hilarious, too! Thanks.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi gail, the potato is such a versatile vegetable - we eat loads!

      Many thanks for a very interesting article and loved the song!

    • gail641 profile image
      Author

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Your welcome. I just love potatoes-they are so good. I thought the song was cute, and I am glad that I added it. There is also a song about bananas that is animated. Its cute, too. The banana is singing a rap song and its cute. The potato sure is a versatile vegetable.

    • flashmakeit profile image

      flashmakeit 5 years ago from usa

      I love potato chips so thank for adding this hub. I was just wondering if you knew what potato meals Chinese people eat because most of their restaurants serve rice.

    • gail641 profile image
      Author

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Your welcome, I love potato chips, too and french fries, mashed, and baked potatoes. I don't know what potato meals chinese people eat, but I will have to look it up on the Internet to see if I can find out. Thanks for commenting.

    • gail641 profile image
      Author

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Thanks, I love potato chips, too. I don't know what potato meals chinese people eat, I'll try and look it up on the Internet.

    • B. A. Williams profile image

      B. A. Williams 5 years ago from USA

      Great article, and there is so much you can do with a potato. I always wondered why there was such a famine in Ireland, with them being near the sea and being able to fish. Nice read keep writing.

    • gail641 profile image
      Author

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Thanks, The Irish should have been able to fish since they're so close to the sea. There is a lot you can do with a potato.

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