9 Facts About Potatoes That May Surprise You

Potatoes

A lot of people don’t give potatoes the proper credit that they deserve. Instead, they get a bad wrap for having too many calories. However, this hardly is reality since this starchy vegetable has about 110 calories in each medium size potato. The truth is the butter, sour cream and other toppings that you add to potatoes are what piles on the extra calories. Being the case, here are nine interesting facts about potatoes that just may surprise you.

Another misconception that many people have is that only the flesh of potatoes is where all the nutrition resides. Though you get a share of your vitamins and minerals inside potatoes with about 15-percent potassium, 30-percent vitamin c, and about 10- percent of vitamin B6, you miss out on some valuable extra nutrition by not eating your potato skins due to extra vitamin C and five grams of fiber. Therefore, you may want to start taking out your vegetable brush and give your potatoes a vigorous scrub.

You may not always have time to bake potatoes or cook them for mashed potatoes, au gratin, fries or other ways that you normally prepare them. If you have been wondering why microwave potatoes never seem to taste as good as baked or those other methods, then there is a simple explanation. Since you always need to stab the raw potato before placing in the microwave to cook to prevent it from exploding, the steam that is released is what cause that uneven cooking so the potatoes lack the same taste and texture as the baked and other ways you prep them.

I love baked potatoes. If you want to keep the skins from getting too crisp, let me share a trick that will prevent this. You want to avoid wrapping those potatoes in aluminum foil. A better idea is lubing the potatoes with olive oil and generously sprinkling some kosher salt over them before placing in a baking pan for your oven. Try cooking them at 375-degrees for about an hour and you have a softer skin to better eat.

Varieties of potatoes may not seem like such a big deal. However, the texture of them can matter when preparing certain recipes. For example, russet potatoes are the best choices for baked potatoes just because how their molecules expand and come apart to break up so easily in the process. On the other hand, russets don’t hold up well for dishes like scalloped potatoes because slicing them makes this variety fall apart. If you need to slice potatoes, you are always better off picking lower starch such as the more waxy red or yellow potatoes, another of these facts about potatoes that can make a difference in the outcome of your recipes.

Something else that is confusing is that trading in your regular fried potato chips for baked potato chips is going to be so much less fattening. Typically, an ounce of potato chips or eating about 18 chips will amount to about 150 calories with 10 grams of fat, which is more often than not the unhealthy saturated variety. By contrast, the same serving of unbaked potato chips will have anywhere from two to eight grams of fat, depending on the brand, but only save your poor body about 30 or 40 calories.

If you were wondering what is the big deal about “new” potatoes over your regular spuds, then these are the baby potatoes that are harvested in spring. They hardly have much skin and often have bald spots, but these new baby potatoes are sweeter and tastier than your normal full-grown potatoes.

I grew some “new” potatoes one year in my garden and they were delicious. Potatoes are very easy to grow, but you need more space than my small garden. You may not know this, but you can plant a whole potato as long as it has eyes or those shoots in the ground and it will grow. You can also go the garden center and buy starter potatoes for planting. When you dig it up later, you will find potatoes.

By the same token, sweet potatoes are considered true root vegetables like onions that store the plant’s carbohydrate energy to keep it intact. On the contrary, potatoes are actually stem tubers that formed from thickened rhizomes or stolons of the plant before taking root.

Another of these facts about potatoes that may interest you is about their storage. Keeping potatoes in the dark and a cooler spot in your house is the best way to preserve them. You want the temperature to be about 50 degrees such as in your garage instead of in a brighter spot in your pantry or near a window. Warmer temperatures can make the potatoes to sprout and wrinkle. Light is even worse because it can make the potatoes turn green and change internally by producing solanine, which is toxic. The good news on that front is that you would need to eat a lot of green potatoes to become seriously ill.

Would you believe that potatoes also contain 80% water? The rest is the dry portion that makes up the starch.

I hope that you found this post on facts about potatoes amusing as well as helpful. If you have any other interesting facts to add, please feel free to share.

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