The potato is one of the foods that are ubiquitous to our society. Here are some interesting facts about potatoes.
1. Cheap to raise-Sometimes
Potatoes are often a cheap crop for farmers to raise. Yes the potato farmers have heavy expenses with the overall return on their money invested is a great deal for the farmers, as long as everything goes good. What increases costs for farmers and handicaps them or severely injures them financially until they reach the point of bankruptcy. When factors such as late Blight disease or some other situation occurs then the potato farmer may lose a lot of money. Although potato farmer often make a profit each year with their potato crop, there are numerous factors that can cause farmers to lose a lot of money.
2. The Potato StatesCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmclear/3694303753/
Idaho is affectionately known as the Great Potato State. Idaho Potatoes are known as among some of the best in the world. The growing conditions here in Idaho may it awesome for Potato growing. Is there that much of a difference between an Idaho Potatoes and a Potato grown elsewhere? Yes and No. You can get Potatoes grown in Eastern Washington near the Idaho border and would not be able to tell the difference between them. What makes Idaho potatoes among the best in the World in that they have not only optimal growing conditions but a great potato raising infrastructure? Tons of research is done each year in Idaho to advance potato growing technology. In Aberdeen, Idaho, there is a facility that is dedicated to potato related research. Millions of dollars are spent each year Worldwide on advancing techniques such as the prevention of diseases.
Another State that is very famous for potatoes is the Great State of Maine. When I think of the State of Maine I conjure up visions of densely wooded forests and maple syrup. Yes they do have some maple syrup and there are a lot of densely wooded regions, the State of Maine also raises some pretty darn doo potatoes.
There are numerous other States that raise potatoes. In fact you can actually raise potatoes in all 50 States. Some varieties such as the Russet potato grow much better in a climate such as that found in Idaho; however other varieties do better in warmer fall climates. The beginning of potatoes as been traced back to Peru. Almost every potato variety has its roots in what is today Peru. It is amazing to think that 99% of potatoes are all related.
3. Potato Varieties
There are well over 5,000 different types of potatoes. Each year more varieties of potatoes are developed for specific purposes such as to fight a specific disease that affects potato crops.
4. Growth and HarvestingCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brizo_the_scot/3920370453/
Potatoes are tubers that grown underneath the ground. At harvest times the farmers will use farm implements that did up the soil and guide the potatoes up to the surface. Another farm machine will then goes along and pick up all the potatoes.
5. Russet Burbank
The Russet Burbank potato is the most common type of potato species in States such as Idaho. Idaho leads the nation in growing potatoes and the Russet Burbank variety is the most common one. The Russet Burbank is popular with both consumers and potato manufacturers such as J.R. Simplot’s, and fast food restaurants. When you eat French fries you are usually eating fries made with Russet Burbank potatoes. The Russet Burbank is also one of the healthiest potatoes because it is loaded with antioxidants. Potatoes generally do not have a lot of antioxidants in them but the Russet Burbank is one of the few exceptions.
6. Potato Vodka
In Idaho, Russia, and other locations brewers make unique vodka using potatoes. Many vodka drinkers are pleasantly surprised at how good the vodka is. In many cases the potato vodka has a much smoother taste than traditional vodka.
7. Potato Starch
Potato starch is used in a wide variety of products. Many food processing companies will use the starch from potatoes as an additive to their food products. Food starch can help products thicken up faster, add flavor, increase the beneficial aspects of the texture, and many other uses. You can even find potato starch in products such as some hot dogs that are made.
8. Eat Cheap
The potato is one of the primary foods that have helped cultures thrive. When the Potato Famine occurred that pushed the Northern Irish away from their homes it was devastating. Even in today’s World many people rely on the basic potato for nutrition. In some poorer areas the over-reliance on the potato can be very scary if a potato drought occurred. When a community relies on the potato for the vast majority of their nutrition and then that food crop is destroyed by diseases such as Late Blight then it can truly be devastating. Fortunately the potato is a pretty hard creature and can withstand a lot of different factors when it is growing in the ground.
The potato is a cheap product that is very nutritious. The cost of potato products rise as they are being processed. For example, potatoes processed into French fries at a factory will cost more than if you were to buy plain potatoes that were not processed. Even when you factor in the processing costs of premium potato products such as the Ore Ida Fast Food fries they are still a true bargain compared to many other processed and bagged foods that you buy at the grocery store.
For the best deal on French fires you can buy a potato slicer and then make you own fries easily using whole potatoes that you bought cheaply. Potato based dinners can be an extremely cheap way to feed your entire family. Potato salad, bake potatoes with chili and cheese on them, tater tot casseroles, and many other dishes can be made that will not only satisfy your families hunger, but will be able to do it cheaply and nutritionally.