7 reasons to fall back in love with potatoes
Why the spud life is the best life
Baked, mashed, fried, roasted or boiled in our eyes the humble potato is king of the carbs, but not all of you agree it seems.
The average British family throws away £700 worth of food every year, new research shows, and potatoes are the items most likely to be chucked. As a nation we waste 4.4 million spuds a day!
The potato is one of the most versatile root vegetables around and needs 15 litres of water to grow. They are great in stews, layered on top of cottage pies and flattened into pancakes, yet the alarming amount we waste every day adds up to 702,000 tons a year with a carbon footprint equivalent to 326,000 tons of CO2.
Is the sweet potato stealing the classic King Edward's thunder? Are we just eating less white carbs and more cauliflower everything? Why are we shunning the tattie with such free abandon?
We at Food Tribe felt it was time to make a case for why we should all fall in love with potatoes again. Let us know if you think we have missed any!
Potatoes are filling
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Let's get real. Potatoes are a sturdy and satisfying asset to any meal. It would take seven croissants to fill up your tummy as much as a single potato? Not applicable to new potatoes.
Meanwhile potatoes actually top the satiety index (a measure of how full people feel after eating specific foods) as the number-one filling food.
Potatoes with skins left on are a natural source of fibre and the NHS website suggests fibre can help us feel full, which means we're less likely to eat as much for dinner.
Potatoes are nutritious
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Potatoes get a bad rap for being "starchy", but starchy foods are a good source of energy and the main source of a range of nutrients in our diet.
As well as starch, potatoes contain fibre, calcium, iron and B vitamins. Just don't be overly generous on the butter and cheese toppings!
Random fun fact: the world’s largest potato weighed in at 18 pounds, 4 ounces according to the Guinness Book of World Records. That’s enough for 73 portions of medium fries at McDonalds.
Potatoes can be grown in space
In 1995 thanks to The University of Wisconsin, Madison and NASA, the potato became the first food to ever be successfully grown in outer space.
Potatoes may have fed Matt Damon's character Mark Watney in the The Martian for 100 days, but they could also feed real-life astronauts and explorers on the red planet. The NASA-backed international Potato Centre (CIP) successfully grew potatoes in Mars-like conditions in 2015.
Did you know the word potato comes from the Spanish word patata? True story.
The ultimate comfort food
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Need we say more? Potatoes go so well with cheese, and melted butter and even more cheese. They work for us baked, sliced as dauphinoise and as creamy mashed served in huge heaps. Warm, nourishing and filling. The feel good factor of the spud is real.
Potatoes gave us chips
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Skin on fries, skinny chips, chunky rough cuts: without the potato we wouldn't have chips (fries) and fish would be very lonely for one thing.
Charles Dickens gives us the earliest literary references to it in A Tale of Two Cities in 1859, when he fondly recalls "husky chips of potato, fried with some reluctant drops of oil".
Meanwhile, in France, street vendors at Paris’ Ponte Neuf bridge were selling fried chunks of potato as early as the 1780s. Third US president Thomas Jefferson loved them so much he introduced them to America.
Potatoes are cheap
The term "cheap as chips" didn't come from nowhere. Tesco currently sell a bag of Maris Piper potatoes weighing 2.5kg for just £2, while a large loose baking potato is 30p a piece. A little goes a long way when it comes to spuds and they can be the foundation to a nutritious meal.
A study conducted by the University of Washington in 2013 and funded by the United States Potato Board found that potatoes are the best value vegetable around.
"The ability to identify affordable, nutrient dense vegetables is important to families focused on stretching their food dollar," said Adam Drewnowski, PhD and lead author of the study.
They're not high in carbs
This may come as a surprise, but a medium-sized apple contains around 16g of carbohydrates (mostly as sugars), which is almost the same as a medium-sized potato, which contains around 19g of carb . There’s not much in it, is there?
Even though it’s a complex carbohydrate, some potatoes increase blood sugar levels faster than other types of complex carbs.
To avoid a spike in glucose levels, just eat potatoes in moderation: there's certainly no need to avoid potatoes completely. Give spuds a chance!