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Potato Nutrition

Origin

The home of the potato is the Andes in South America. They were cultivated there by the original Indian inhabitants as long ago as the period of 8,000 to 5,000 BC. It wasn’t until the middle of the 16th century that the potato came to Europe via Spain and England. In 1565, King Philip II of Spain received a crate containing products from India, which also contained some potatoes. However, due to their pretty flowers they were initially only admired in flower gardens. It was only later that they ended up in cooking pots in Europe. The fact that the “apple of the earth” became a popular food in Germany is down to Frederick II of Prussia, “Old Fritz”. In a period with a constantly growing population and recurring famines, he recognised the significance of the potato as a filling and nutrient-rich food. fried potato chips

Ingredients and nutritional values

Potatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals and contain relatively few calories. They are also called the “lemons of the north”, due their particularly high vitamin C content. In addition, they contain important fibre which has a positive effect on bowel action and thus digestion. The protein in potato is very valuable. In combination with egg or other animal foods, it can be converted very efficiently into the body’s own protein.

Nutritional values:

based on 200g uncooked weight, which corresponds to about two potatoes

Energy: 140 kcal/560 kJ
Protein: 4.0g
Fat: 0.2g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Carbohydrate: 29.6g
Fibre: 4.2mg (14% of the recommended guideline amount of 30g)
Vitamin C: 34mg (34%)*
Vitamin B1: 0.20mg (18%)*
Vitamin B6: 0.60mg (46%)*
Potassium: 822mg (41%)*
Phosphorus: 100mg (14%)*
Magnesium: 40mg (12%)*

Source: The large GU Nutritional Information table, 2006/07. The recommended daily intake amounts correspond to the reference values for nutrient intake (2000) for an adult. * of the daily recommended intake four potatoes

Buying potatoes

Potatoes are available from any good supermarket or directly from the farmer. Depending on the purpose for which they are intended, waxy, predominantly waxy or floury potatoes (see preparation) may be best suited. In the shops, the method of cooking is indicated by the colour code on the packaging: green stands for waxy potatoes, red for predominantly waxy potatoes and blue for floury potatoes. In general, potatoes should be clean, firm, dry, an even yellowish brown colour, have an earthy but not mouldy smell. Damp potatoes or potatoes with wrinkles or pressure marks can become mouldy more quickly. Around 70kg of potatoes are eaten per head in Germany every year – whether boiled, in soup, as chips or crisps. Frozen products are the most frequently consumed potato products, and of these the most popular of all is chips. Dry products such as mashed potato powder, crisps and potato sticks are also popular additions to the shopping trolley.

Storage

Potatoes are harvested very carefully to avoid causing any damage to them. They have a water content of approximately 80%. If the storage temperature is too high, they lose water and shrivel up. A high level of humidity in the storage location encourages the development of putridness; light causes the formation of green areas containing toxic solanine. For this reason, potatoes should be stored in a cool place – although not in the fridge – and in one which is airy, dark and, above all, dry. Tip: do not store potatoes near fruit. This speeds up the ageing of the potatoes. The ripening gas ethylene given off by fruit is responsible for this. Fresh potatoes

Preparation

Whether as a starter, soup, or snack, accompaniment or main meal – three types of cooking are used depending on the potato dish: waxy potatoes such as Cilena, Sieglinde, Nicola, Linda and Selma are used for potato salads; predominantly waxy potatoes such as Velox, Berber, Marabel, Agria, Solara, Quarta, Satina, Secura and Granola for boiled potatoes and jacket potatoes; floury potatoes with a high starch content, such as Adretta, Aula, Freya, Irmgard, Karlena and Likaria, for stews and mashed potatoes. The starch from raw potatoes is virtually indigestible. This is why potatoes should always be eaten cooked. Green areas on potatoes must be removed before cooking them as they contain the toxic substance solanine. Potatoes are generally cooked after 20 to 25 minutes. To test whether they are ready: stab the potatoes with a small knife – if there is no resistance, the potatoes are cooked. If there are any potatoes left over, they can be used to make, for example, a delicious fried potato dish the next day. Simply cut the potatoes into slices and fry them until crisp with some oil and, according to your preference, ham, vegetables, onions or egg.

Particular characteristics

Potatoes make you feel full but they aren’t a fattening food! A 200g portion of potatoes only provides approximately 140 kcal, a little fat and plenty of filling fibre. Anyone watching their figure can eat these healthy vegetables as much as they like. The German Nutrition Society recommends one portion of rice, pasta or potatoes a day as part of a balanced diet.