Potatoes

Comforting & tasty

Whether fried, roasted, boiled, baked or mashed, people consider potatoes as comfort food. It is an important food staple and the number one vegetable crop in the world. Quite a few Greek traditional dishes include potatoes in various forms.

Potatoes are a very popular food source. Unfortunately, most people eat potatoes in the form of greasy French fries or potato chips, and even baked potatoes are often loaded down with fats such as melted cheese and bacon bits. With those cooking methods, even the baked potatoes may pose a threat to your health. But if you avoid the extra fat and deep frying potato is an exceptionally healthful low calorie, high fiber food that offers significant protection against cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber. Potatoes also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity. Among these important health-promoting compounds are carotenoids, flavonoids, and caffeic acid, as well as unique tuber storage proteins, such as patatin, which exhibit activity against free radicals.

There are about 100 varieties of edible potatoes. They range in size, shape, color, starch content and flavor. The skin of potatoes is generally brown, red or yellow, and may be smooth or rough, while the flesh is yellow or white. There are also other varieties available that feature purple-grey skin and a beautiful deep violet flesh.

In Greece, potato production lasts almost all year with the exception of February – March. Potatoes from the island of Naxos and Nevrokopi Dramas are considered as PGI, of Protected Geographical Indication, but savorous and of good quality potatoes are also cultivated in Messinia, Crete, Thiva, Orestiada, Tripoli and many other territories.

Potatoes originated in the Andean mountain region of South America. Researchers estimate that potatoes have been cultivated by the Indians living in these areas for between 4,000 and 7,000 years. In Greece, they were introduced rather late in comparison with other western countries, by the country’s first governor, Ioannis Kapodistrias, in the early 19th century.

Some of the most famous Greek dishes, like moussaka, use potatoes as basic ingredient. On the other hand, as potatoes have a neutral starchy flavor, they serve as a good complement to many meals. For an easy and healthy starter or even actual meal, purée roasted garlic, cooked potatoes and olive oil together to make delicious garlic mashed potatoes or add fresh yogurt and parsley to a baked, sizzling potato, and you’ll enjoy a delicious and health promoting dish.

MLGFB Tip:

How to store potatoes

  • The ideal way to store potatoes is in a dark, dry place between 7-10C, like a cool, dark closet or basement. Potatoes should definitely not be exposed to sunlight.
  • Mature potatoes stored properly can keep up to two months.
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