Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Potato

White potatoes are edible tubers that grow at the end of underground stems of the plant Solanum tuberosum, a member of the Nightshade family. Above ground, the plant has a stem and coarse, dark green leaves resembling those of the tomato. Its flowers range from white to purple, and occasionally fruits develop that resemble small green tomatoes. Like the berries of the nightshade, these fruits are poisonous. The tuber’s skin ranges from tan to purple, and its flesh is usually white or light yellow, although in some Andean varieties it is purple. The tuber has extermal buds, or “eyes”, that can sprout into new plants. These eyes, rather than the seeds of the fruit, are planted to grow a new crop.

Food Value:
According to food experts, a diet of potatoes and milk will supply all the nutrients the human body needs. Potatoes contain plentiful carbohydrates and some protein, calcium, and niacin. They also contain a considerable amount of vitamin C. They are processed into flour, starch, and alcohol and are used as fodder, especially in Europe. In the United States, annual per capita consumption is 19 kg (42 lb) of fresh popatoes and 13 kg (30 lb) of processed potatoes, such as frozen French fries and potato chips.

Cultivation:
Potatoes are the fourth largest world crop surpassed only by water, rice and corn. The leading potatoes growing countries in 1990 were the USSR, China, Poland, and the United States. The Leading U.S states in order of production were Idaho, Washington, Maine, Oregon and Colorado.

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