Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Potatoes ~ One of the Basic Foods in any Chef's Pantry!

When I hear the word potato, I still think of it as a basic food item and I tend to think of the potato as unchanged and probably the only natural food still grown. However, potatoes were among the first to 'get messed with'. I mean to be changed into something better than its original natural self - genetically modified that is. For instance, the 'Russet' Burbank is a hybrid potato known for its flavor consistency and long shelf life. Well, if the russet has been upgraded haven't all potatoes been modified? Yes, many have including the Yukon Gold one of my favorites; which was created by Gary Johnston. But they all started out simple and you can still find what are called 'heirloom' potatoes.

Generally, it has been widely accepted that potatoes of all varieties are thought to be indigenous to South America. As early as the 1500s, Spanish and Portuguese explorers brought potato plants to Europe, where they were cultivated and ultimately brought back across the Atlantic to be grown as crops in settlements in New England and Southern Canada. Some of the transplanted varieties thrived in the so-called “New World,” but others were harder to grow. Harsh winters and dry ground made cultivation difficult.

I bet you didn't know that here in the 'new world' settlers and colonists used potatoes exclusively for animal feed. Probably, it was the unpredictable shape and somewhat bland taste that made them generally disliked by most. Yet, all of this changed when Massachusetts horticulturist Luther Burbank created the hybrid today recognized as the standard russet potato ~ the Russet Burbank.

 And, who doesn't like a plate of Russet Fries!

~ Source

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