La history of the potato is linked to distant lands: through the conquistadors of the Spanish Empire, potatoes arrived in the Old World around the sixteenth century, but in reality their origin is Andean, where between Bolivia, Chile and Peru they have always been eaten by local peoples.
Millennia before Christ they were harvested, dried and processed and were an excellent food source. Once they reach Europe, theirs versatility he made them enter the various cuisines of the world, as far as the Far East, passing through India, Africa and Arabia.
Species, varieties and characteristics of potatoes
It is almost impossible to summarize the whole range of potato varieties in one short paragraph: in nature these vegetables have one spontaneous tendency to variability.
However they exist most common species and varieties and easily available on the market. They vary in flavor, size, skin color and paste color.
To the species Solanum tuberosum they belong:
Ratta potato: oblong, sweet, pale paste, edible with the whole peel. Of transalpine origin, it is found mainly in the north of the country.
Olluco potato: originally from the Peruvian Andre, very sweet, ideal for frying, unmistakable thanks to its bright yellow and purple colors.
Viola potato: Intense color, more complex and aromatic flavor than normal white or yellow potatoes.
Read also How to cook tubers and roots >>
To the species Ipomea batata (sweet potato) belong:
White-fleshed sweet potato: creamy, fibrous, with a taste similar to chestnut.
Orange-fleshed sweet potato: slightly sweeter and less firm than the other varieties.
Purple sweet potato: less easy to find around, they have a more marked taste.
Characteristic of the potato plant
The potato is a solanacea, of which only the tuber, which is a valuable starch reserve. Depending on the variety, the plant can exceed one meter in height and has non-edible light brown or yellowish berries as fruits.
The so-called sweet potatoes or sweet potatoes they are convulvaceous perennials with beautiful pale violet flowers, almost white, similar to that of their "cousin" morning glory (Ipomea violacea).
Usually the common potato is planted in the form of small tubers in spring, with the months that pass the plant is born and grows until flowering and its withering which takes place in late summer when it is time for its harvest.
A single small tuber can yield many more pounds of potatoes.
Use of the potato
Potatoes can be eaten only after cooking or, in special cases, after one correct drying. Any type of cooking is suitable for the potato tuber: boiled, stewed, fried, roasted, etc.
Some variety they lend themselves better than others to being eat with the peel, which is the home of many active ingredients other than the starches that make up the pulp of the tuber.
They are ideal both alone and accompanied with other vegetables, meats, eggs, fish, dairy products. They are appreciated in soups, as boundaryin mash, as the main ingredient in breads or pastas. They can be obtained from potatoes starches and alcoholic products.
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