Potato – valuable vegetable
The potato is one of the main food crops of the world. It grows well in cool climates. The potato belongs to the nightshade family of plants, which also includes eggplant, tomatoes, and garden peppers. The scientific name of the potato is Solanum tuberosum. It is not related to the sweet potato.
The potato plant can grow to 50 to 100 centimeters high. It has white, purple, violet, or lilac flowers depending on the variety of plant. The stems of the potato plant grow underground and the ends of the stems thicken to form potatoes. The potatoes have eyes that can grow into new potato plants.
Potato always takes one of the first places on our table – boiled, fried, smashed. A single medium sized potato contains about 100 calories with no fat. Potato contains more than 80% of water, but in addition it is rich in vitamins and minerals. In particular, the potato contains a lot of provitamin A, which is necessary for maintaining good eyesight.
Potatoes produce alcohol, and alcohol is used to produce synthetic rubber and other products; alcohol is also widely used in medicine and perfumes.
Indians of South America might have grown potatoes as early as 1,800 years ago. Spanish explorers of the Americas brought potatoes back to Europe in the 1500s. Potatoes were imported to Europe in the 16th century, but until the 18th century they remained little-known. For a long time potatoes were a rarity and was considered a delicacy. It was eaten only in wealthy houses. And the court ladies decorated their hair with flowers of potatoes.
King of Prussia Frederick II threatened to cut off the noses and ears of those who did not want to plant potatoes. In France, cunning pharmacist Parmantier promoted potatoes to the masses. He planted potatoes on several fields and ordered to guard them. Soldiers guarded the fields during the day and went to bed at night. Nearby peasants, of course, could not resist the temptation and began stealing a protected vegetable and planting in their fields.
Three hundred years ago potatoes – a useful and tasty product – were cursed by the Orthodox Church in Russia, and citizens were afraid even to touch a strange vegetable or fruit.
In times of gold rush, potato saved people from scurvy, and gold miners valued it more than gold.
French fries appeared thanks to the American President Thomas Jefferson, who first offered his guests an unusual dish.
In the world there are several museums of potatoes.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations declared 2008 the International Year of the Potato.
La Bonnotte is the most expensive potato in the world.
Khalil Semhat farmed the largest potato in the world with the weight of 11.2 kilograms!