In traditional Polish cuisine, potatoes are the basis of an everyday menu and still reign on our tables. There is nothing wrong with it, because this vegetable has many valuable properties. Unfortunately, we destroy them in a simple way, melting potatoes in fatty sauces and serving them in the company of high-calorie additives.
A little about the history of the potato
Potato belongs to the family of solanaceous plants. The area of South America, the current territory of Peru, Chile and Bolivia is considered the cradle of cultivation of this plant. Bringing potato to Europe is attributed to Cristofer Columbus. In Europe, this plant was known very late, because – as it is estimated – only in the sixteenth century. Initially, the potato was treated as a specimen of a decorative plant grown in botanical gardens. In Poland, potatoes appeared thanks to King Jan III Sobieski. Potato tubers were brought from the Viennese expedition as a gift for Queen Marysieńka.
The history of potato is extremely rich, as a component of food has been appreciated practically all over the world, in many areas has become the basis of the diet. It is thanks to potatoes that millions of people were saved before starvation, so it’s no wonder that they have their holidays or monuments. The year 2008 was declared by the United Nations by the International Year of Potato.
It is assumed that potato is a food product very well designed by nature. There are many varieties of this plant. For the consumer, it is valuable that the potato is a plant to which we have access all year round, and stored appropriately for a long time. According to the research, we are guided mainly by the mealiness of the potato, the taste, the lack of damage and the culinary destination.
The most important advantages of potato
Potato is a plant that still reigns in many Polish homes, is the basis of the diet. Its consumption in 2010-2011 amounted to approximately 112 kg per year, per capita. Contrary to the popular opinion that potatoes are high-calorie products, potato tubers are low in calories. In a cooked form, they can be used in an easily digestible diet, which is used, among others, in inflammation of the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines, in excessive excitability of the large intestine, in the elderly, after surgical procedures.
Potato is largely composed of starch, protein, fiber, vitamins, mainly vitamin C and minerals. This plant is characterized by low content of harmful compounds such as glycoalkaloids, nitrates, pesticide residues. The energy value of the potato is about 50-80 kcal per 100 g product, for comparison 100 g of white rice provides approx. 345 kcal, 100 g pearl barley pearl 335 kcal, 150 g apple is about 75 kcal. The caloricity of meals containing potatoes in our composition is increased by their culinary treatment, for example frying deep-oil alternatives, adding butter after cooking or eating them in the form of purée.
It’s also worth knowing that the potato
– regulates the functioning of the digestive system – works in the case of diarrhea and constipation, gastric and duodenal ulcers; facilitates digestion, is used in a light-food diet;
– improves the functioning of the cardiovascular system (depending on the form) – lowers cholesterol, regulates blood pressure, reduces the risk of stroke;
– in folk medicine, the potato is used as a means of soothing burns, an anti-inflammatory, tightening the skin.
Truths and myths about potato
Potato, like many other components of our diet, is the subject of many discussions, which is why it is sometimes difficult to find them and find them right.
Let’s deal with the most important statements about potatoes
– they are high-calorie – it’s actually the most common myth about this vegetable; It’s high time to realize that 100 grams of potatoes is only about 50-80 kcal! Thanks to this, they can be a great component of reducing diets, because they suppress appetite for a long time. Attention! The calories are increased by additives such as fats and sauces;
– they are not suitable for everyone – unfortunately, the aforementioned potassium causes that potatoes should not be consumed by people suffering from renal failure;
– you can poison potatoes. The potato contains in its composition, among others solanine belonging to glycoalkaloids. In mature potato tubers, their concentration is low, while it increases if the potato is exposed to, for example, the sun, then the tubers turn green, are poorly stored, the growing tubers are not completely covered with soil. Therefore, it is worth being careful and when preparing a dish with potatoes, pay attention to their color;
– during cooking, their nutritional values are lost – the best methods that allow you to preserve the most valuable ingredients in the largest amounts are baking or cooking them in shells, additionally pour them with water just before cooking, but previously burn them with boiling water, long holding in water dissolves vitamins, and peeling deprives most nutrients!
The activities of producers of food products are also important, as they manipulate our dietary choices through the use of catchy slogans.
What should you watch for?
– French fries – often have nothing to do with naturalness – are a mixture of potato flour, so-called dried and water or fat. The best and healthiest decision will be to prepare fries yourself and bake them in the oven;
– light, natural chips, without chemical additives – industrial processing of potatoes, subjecting them to numerous processes, melting in fat and coating in chemical additives that give them a taste – there is nothing light or healthy in this product, in addition – just like fries – crisps are often made not from potatoes but from the aforementioned mush.
Potatoes are part of the diet of almost all of us. Most often, however, we give up the delicate, unique taste of potato and turn it into unhealthy and caloric products – fries, potato chips and potato pancakes. You do not have to give up these delicacies – you just have to do them at home using the right technique. In this simple way, we will use the valuable properties of the potato, and at the same time we will see how unique the taste can be a potato without caloric additives.