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© Antigo Farmers' Market, Inc.
Antigo, Wisconsin
 
All about Potatoes
The subject of potatoes for this month’s AFM newsletter is more than appropriate.

The Antigo area is one of the more important potato-growing regions, specializing in certified seed potatoes. Wisconsin is 3rd after Idaho and Washington in US potato production.
Also, February is National Potato Lovers Month.

The Antigo farmers market offers many different varieties of potatoes, some of which cannot be obtained at local grocery stores like fingerling and blue potatoes.

History
Cultivated potatoes all belong to one botanical species, Solanum tuberosum, but it includes thousands of varieties that vary by size, shape, color and other characteristics. The potato originated in the South American Andes. It was most likely domesticated in the Lake Titicaca region of Peru and Bolivia between 10,000 and 7,000 years ago.
Before the potato became known in North America, it first was introduced to Europe by 16th century Spanish Explorers who encountered it in South America in the mid 1500s. Over time, it was adopted by other countries. Several prominent Europeans helped popularize the potato.

In 1774, Germany’s King Frederick “Friedrich der Grosse” ordered peasants to plant and eat potatoes- “or have their noses cut off.”

A Frenchman, named Antoine Parmentier became a prisoner of war during the mid 1700s and was forced to subsist on potatoes. Nevertheless, on his return to France he introduced potato soup and other potato dishes to King Louis XVI. (See Soup recipe below)

England’s Sir Walter Raleigh was given land in Ireland by Queen Elizabeth I to grow potatoes.

The first potatoes arrived in North America in the early 1600s, but the first significant potato plots were established only around 1719 in New England by Scotch – Irish immigrants.

Link to World History of Food…

Germany's King Frederick
visits potato farmers
Parmentier offers a bunch of potatoes
to King Louis XVI
 
Storage
Potatoes should be kept in a dark, cool place with good ventilation. The ideal temperature is 40-50F. Avoid refrigeration! When kept below 40, potatoes develop a sweet taste, due to the conversion of starch to sugar.
Keep potatoes away from prolonged exposure to light, which causes them to turn green. This results in a build-up of Solanine, which can be toxic. The National Institute of Health’s information on Solanine says never to eat potatoes that are green below the skin.
Nutrition
A lot people think of oranges when they think of Vitamin C, but what many of them don’t know is that potatoes, when eaten with the skin still on, contain approximately half of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C for adults. When boiled and peeled, however, the amount drastically decreases. Boiling is the most popular method of preparing potatoes worldwide.
In addition to potassium, potatoes are also a good source of protein, containing nearly as much as many cereals. This may be one reason that potatoes are so filling, which is helpful for cutting back on portion sizes. Don’t feel guilty about eating a lot of potatoes, because, even though they are high in carbohydrates, they aren’t fattening if you eat them without all of the cheese, butter and sour-cream.

Recipes
Potatoes are used in many recipes.
You may want to give the following examples a try:
• Potato Frittata
• Potato and Leek Soup
(Potage Parmentier)
• Potato- Salmon- Salad

For further healthy potato recipes go to www.healthypotato.com
Rio singing "My Favorite Things"
while peeling potatoes