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Potatoes

Potato is a root vegetable native to the America. From there it’s been moved and used throughout the world and it has become a staple food of almost every cuisine. It’s easy to produce and it can be stored for a long time.

Potatoes are also versatile in terms of how they can be cooked and prepared. They are produced throughout the US and there are a lot of different varieties some of which are American creation.

Potato Trivia

  • Europeans found out about potatoes in 1537
  • Sir Walter Raleigh introduced the potato to Ireland
  • French fries were introduced to Americans when President Thomas Jefferson served them at the White House.

Potato Buying Guide

Buying potatoes is relatively simple but it depends a bit on how you plan to use them. It’s different if you try to boil or fry them, but never the less you’ll manage to do both with all kinds of potatoes just not to the same effect.

Go for the firm and large potatoes with no physical blemishes of dark spots on the skin. Pass over the potatoes that have green tinted skin. That’s what happens when they are exposed to light.

Potato Production & Farming in Texas

Tens of thousands of acres of Texas land are used to grow potatoes. There are also numerus different varieties made for different markets and purposes. These include: Red La Soda and Viking are the principal red skin varieties. White skin potato varieties grown for chip processing include Atlantic, Snowden, Gemchip, and Norchip. Norgold M, Russet Norkotah).

Potatoes grow in pretty much every kind of Texas soil as long as it’s well drained. Good yields depend on the quality of the soil and potatoes require clay loams, sandy loams, and loamy sands. Sandy soil is also easier to harvest from.

The amount of water that the potatoes will need depend on when do you plant them since you’ll need more of it when you plant the potatoes later and thus expose them to more heat. The estimated consumption for March is 0; for April = 1.5 inches; for May = 7.2 inches, for June = 12.0 inches; and for July = 6.0 inches. The total estimated water consumption for the crop is 26.7 inches

Harvesting practices also vary based on where the potatoes are planted and when.

Harvesting begins in April in the Rio Grande Valley. The Winter Garden area harvests in late April through mid-May. Digging begins in the Rolling Plains area in early June. The Seminole area of the High Plains starts to harvest by mid to late June. Muleshoe, Farwell, Springlake, Hereford, Dimmitt, Hart, Olton, and Plainview harvest is in full swing by early to mid-July. Acreage in Dalhart is mostly for September-October harvest.

Pesticides

According to the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program, 35 different pesticides have been found on conventional potatoes. The chemical that is found on 76% of all conventional potatoes is chlorpropham, an herbicide that is used to stop the growth of weeds and to inhibit potato sprouting

Geography

Potatoes were first grown in the Americas and they were found there by the Spanish explorers. They have brought them to Europe and used as a decorative plant. Soon it was realized that potatoes are easy to grow and that they are rather nurturing.

In the US they are grown both commercially and by small and individual farms and restaurants. Most of them however, are a product of work of big businesses and they are grown as a monoculture on a large scale.

Packaging

Potatoes are easy to pack and transport. They are heavy but they don’t need to be refrigerated and you can pack them on the spot and move them so that they are sold as they are. They are usually stored in sacks and sold by the pound or by the sack.

In some cases, they are held in cardboard boxes and sold by the pound. It’s best not to clean them before storage.

Eating Potatoes

Potatoes are prepared by cleaning them and peeling of their skin. After that there’s a variety of ways in which you can use them. They can be boiled and then mashed while adding herbs and butter. Potatoes are also roasted and fried in a pan.

It’s also a versatile in terms of changing the ordinary recipes a bit to add a touch of your own or to alter them just a bit to make sure that they are up to your liking. Feel free to experiment in this regard because there’s little you can do wrong when it comes to potatoes.

Storage

Potatoes can be stored in your home without peeling or washing them and keeping them in a room that’s not lit too harshly. It’s mostly done in a common pantry. Keeping a few sacks is the most economic and the most flexible way to buy potatoes.

Cooking

There are countless recipes for potatoes and here’s a simple one for backed potatoes that anyone can make.

Scrub potatoes to remove any dirt or debris. Poke holes all over the potato using a fork – about 5 to 6 times. This prevents steam from building up inside of the potatoes while they bake. A potato can explode if steam builds up so make sure you poke right into the potato to create holes, not just pierce the skin. Brush the potatoes with olive oil and salt. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake.

A baked potato will take 45-60 minutes in the oven. Cooking times can vary depending on the size of the potatoes and the temperature of the oven, so the easiest way to test them is with a fork to make sure they’re soft throughout.

Nutrition

Potatoes are mainly composed of carbs, primarily in the form of starch. The carb content ranges from 66–90% of dry weight Simple sugars — such as sucrose, glucose, and fructose — are also present in small amounts. Potatoes usually rank high on the glycemic index (GI), making them unsuitable for people with diabetes. The GI measures how foods affect your rise in blood sugar after a meal.  However, some potatoes may be in the medium range — depending on the variety and cooking methods Cooling potatoes after cooking may lessen their effect on blood sugar and lower their GI by 25–26%).

Even though potatoes are not a high-fiber food, they may provide a significant source of fiber for those who eat them regularly.  The level of fiber is highest in the skin, which makes up 1–2% of the potato. In fact, dried skins are about 50% fiber.  Potato fibers — such as pectin, cellulose, and hemicellulose — are mainly insoluble They also contain varying amounts of resistant starch, a type of fiber that feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut and improves digestive health).  Resistant starch can also improve blood sugar control, moderating your rise in blood sugar after meals. Compared to hot potatoes, cooled ones offer higher amounts of resistant starch

When Are Potatoes in Season in Texas?

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 118 6%
  • Carbs: 27.4g 9%
  • Sugar: 1.2g 0
  • Fiber: 2.7g 11%
  • Protein: 2.5g 5%
  • Fat: 0.1g 0%
  • Saturated Fat: 0g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 326mg 14%
  • Vitamin C 17.7mg 29%
  • Vitamin A 4.1IU 0%
  • Calcium 6.8mg 1%
  • Iron 0.4mg 2%
  • Potassium 515mg 15%
  • Vitamin E 0.1mg 0%
  • Vitamin K 2.9mcg 4%
  • Folate 13.6mcg 3%
  • Vitamin B6 0.4mg 20%
  • Magnesium 29.9mg 7%
  • Phosphorus 59.8mg 6%
  • Manganese 0.2mg 9%
  • Copper 0.3mg 13%
  • Zinc 0.4mg 3%

Seasonality

When are apples in season in Texas?

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

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Tasty Recipes Using Potatoes