The world's most popular root vegetable, the potato, originated in South America and has been grown in Europe since the 16th century. Although, the distrustful European families adopted it slowly, it played an important role in the European 19th century population boom and became an all time favorite snack food.

Potatoes come in 4000 different varieties, each of which has its particular culinary attributes. Most have pale brown skins and cream or yellow flesh, but some speciality varieties are differently colored, like the Purple Peruvian. In general, potatoes are categorized based on their waxiness into baking potatoes – potatoes that have 20 - 22% starch, and boiling potatoes with 16–18% starch.

Potatoes first became popular when Marie Antoinette paraded in France wearing a crown of potato blossoms. In the late 1700's Frederick the Great planted potatoes in his Pleasure Garden in Berlin because he admired the beauty of the potato flowers. Later on, he promoted the eating of potatoes because of its high nutritional value.


Potatoes are available all year around. Unlike most vegetables, potatoes are rarely eaten raw. Not only are their starchy texture and bland taste unpleasant, but a raw potato can cause also digestion problems and bloating. Therefore, potatoes are cooked in countless ways – boiled in soups and stews, baked in gratins and casseroles, roasted with meat, mashed and steamed as a side dish and fried into the best loved fries and chips. Choose your potato according to how you want to cook it.

Much of the nutritional content is stored in or just under the skin, so if possible, keep it. Otherwise, peel very thinly with a potato peeler, then rinse. New potatoes just need a scrub in cold water – the thin skin comes off easily.

A good potato is firm and blemish-free. Potatoes should be stored in cool, dark and well-ventilated places. They should be kept in paper or wooden crates.


Potatoes are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. One medium sized potato has fewer calories than a grapefruit, more potassium than a banana, and more usable iron than any other vegetable. Potatoes are also high in fiber, and loaded with complex carbohydrates. And best of all, potatoes are fat-free.