Part of the perennial nightside family, which includes tomatoes and aubergines, potatoes has become one of the most popular vegetables throughout the world. This vegetable is native to South America, and was eventually brought to Asia where it has become in high demand. In fact, nearly a third of the world’s source of potatoes are now grown in China!
The appearance of potatoes can vary, due to species and just in general. No two potatoes are ever the same. Typically, the majority of potatoes (except such as sweet potatoes which are more orange), have pale brown skin and a creamy/yellow inside flesh. They can grow to around 24inches, depending on the type of potato. Because they a root vegetable, this means that they grow from the ground. Potatoes are such a popular choice of vegetable also because they are available all year round, making them the perfect addition to many dish, whatever the season.
Potatoes are a great addition to anyone’s diet as they contain a plethora of minerals and vitamins. However, Potatoes are best known for their high carbohydrate content, providing positive health benefits, such as offering protection against many cancers and reducing fat storage, among many more.
To choose the best potato and to ensure that the health benefits will be optimum, opt for firm and blemish-free ones. If they’re looking a little green, are soft, or perhaps growing another mini potato – get rid of it!
To prepare the potato make sure to clean and wash the skin well (and dry depending on what method you will be cooking them). Any blemishes within the surface of the skin must be cut out using a knife. Try not to cut too much of the potato away, aim just for the skin itself as most of the nutritional content is found right under the skin. If you are roasting or baking the potato, leave the skin on, but use a fork to pierce the skin at least five times. If you want to mash the potatoes, or depending on whatever means of cooking you wish to follow, peal the skin and rinse again.
Not all recipes require potatoes to be warm, and they can be eaten, such as potato crisps or within a salad. Depending on the size of the potato, on average they should be boiled between 10 and 25 minutes to become soft. To bake, once again this varies on the size of the potato, anywhere from around 50 minutes to nearly 1 ½ hours if whole, or less if cut into smaller chunks.
Popular Chinese dishes that contain potatoes include using the vegetable as an alternative to rice – if rice is not readily available, potatoes are a great substitute. Many roadside sellers in Northern areas of China often sell roasted potatoes to passers by.