The potato is a tuberous crop that belongs to the Solanaceae family, and was native to Peru. The Inca Indians (the inhabitants of Peru) were the first to cultivate potatoes in 200 BC.
Almost 99% potatoes cultivated today are actually the descendants of a subspecies that originated in south central Chile. It was introduced in Europe by the Spanish explorers in the 16th century, and from there it spread to the entire world.
Varieties of Potatoes
Although 5,000 varieties of potatoes exist, only a few varieties are commonly used for cooking. So, let's take a look at some commonly cultivated varieties of potatoes.
They are easily digestible, and they can promote intestinal functions. Because of their low starch content, they can be consumed by obese and diabetic people as well. They are particularly suitable for boiling, mashing, frying, and baking. They are also known as the white rose or California long whites.
The brilliant blue or purple color is imparted by a blue pigmented antioxidant, known as anthocyanin. These potatoes are native to South America. They are low in starch, and they can be boiled, baked, roasted, and fried. The common varieties of blue or purple potatoes are, All Blue, Purple Peruvian, and Purple Viking.
Potatoes were initially considered poisonous by the Europeans. But today, the potato is the largest crops to be cultivated. It is a rich source of carbohydrates, essential vitamins, and minerals. Potatoes contain a high level of potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, but do not contain fats and cholesterol.