Potato & Potatoes
Today we are going to look at the potato—a meal in itself!
The potato originated in Peru, where it was shown to Spanish conquistadors by the Incas. The date of its first appearance in Europe is not exact, but potatoes are known to have been washed up on the coast of Ireland from the wrecks of the Spanish galleons returning from Peru in 1565.
Ireland was one of the first European countries to cultivate the potato on a large scale. Their climate was so suitable that potatoes eventually replaced almost all other crops. The Irish ate potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Colcannon is one of their classic potato dishes which I have included as one of our recipes.
The potato was first used as food for chickens and pigs... Not so, these days! The potato can be a standard food item for any meal of the day. It is a healthy morsel containing B vitamins, vitamin C and minerals.
Potatoes can be red, brown, white, even purple-skinned! They are all good to eat. But they should be stored in a cool place out of the light. Otherwise, they may turn green. If so, green potatoes should not be eaten for they could possibly make you sick.
The little "new potatoes" with thin skins are good boiled, because they stay firm. The larger Idaho baking ones are good for a mealy "fall-apart" potato. Any of these can be used in mashed potato recipes.
—The Peppered Leopard
Healthy Potato Tips
A potato's B and C vitamins and minerals are right under its skin, so if it has a good thin even skin, so wash it well and eat it skin and all. Or, a special peeler removes only the thinnest outer layer of peel to keep the nutrition in the potato and not with the peel.
Pep's Safety Tips for the Peeler
The safest and the best way to peel a potato is to use a peeler and not a knife. A vegetable peeler is a tool with a slit in the middle of the blade. It removes thin portions of the potato's peel, thus leaving more of the nutritious part of the potato to eat.
Always push the blade away from you as you peel. Be sure to keep your fingers away from where the peeler will cut—this is the safest way.
If you are just beginning to cook, try out this method of peeling: put the potato down on a cutting board, hold the potato end that is closer to you and shave the potato's other end in strokes away from you. Keep turning the potato until all the potato is bare. When you're done, flip the potato over and peel the other half. Once you get the hang of it, try holding the potato with one hand and peel away with the other. After a while you can get good, but you'll need to practice!
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The Peppered Leopard is Copyright © 1995-2006 Jim Keeshen Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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