The new year brings resolutions – many include losing weight and eating healthier. Last year I posted some tips for eating healthier and making and keeping resolutions (http://prestochef.blogspot.com/2007/01/happy-new-year.html).
I thought I would start this year on a different note. Did you know that 2008 is The International Year of the Potato?!?! For those that know me, they know that the Munger Potato Festival is an integral part of my life, and that I never miss it. And who does not love potatoes?! So when I heard that this was the Year of the Potato, I was ecstatic.
At a conference held by the United Nations in 2005, a proposal was approved to bring recognition to world hunger problems. With the potato being an easily grown, fairly nutritious and already being grown in most countries, it made a good choice as the crop to promote. The hopes are to alleviate poverty and malnutrition, provide food and security and increase growth in developing nations. http://www.potato2008.org/
- In 2005, for the first time ever, more potatoes were grown in developing countries than developed countries – 318 million tonnes total (1 tonne or metric ton = 1,000 kilograms).
- China and India grow about one-third of the total global potato production.
- Europeans (including former Soviet countries) consume the largest amount of potatoes.
- The United States ranks fourth global for potato production. Americans eat about 120 pounds of potatoes annually.
Potatoes are native to South America and have been around for at least 8,000 years. The Spanish introduced them to Europe in the 16th Century. Today there are 7,500 varieties of potatoes worldwide.
Potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrates (what our body produces energy from) and fiber. We can get half of our daily intake of Vitamin C from eating potatoes with their skins. Potatoes are also a better source of potassium than bananas (417 mg versus 358 mg).
Potatoes are extremely versatile – they can be boiled, baked, roasted, mashed, fried, stuffed, broiled, sautéed or steamed.
Some interesting potato recipes from www.idahopotato.com:
Cannelloni of Potato and Wild Mushrooms
Roasted Rosemary Garlic Potatoes
Lime Basil Idaho Potato Tabbouleh