Tuesday, 12 February 2008

year of the potato!

Did you know?

The potato comes from the Andes, in South America, where it has been consumed for about 8,000 years. It was first taken to Europe in the 16th century by Spanish adventurers interested in its medicinal properties.

There are seven recognized potato species and more than 5,000 potato varieties still growing in the Andes. Potatoes play a critical role in the local farming economy there as well as in the cultural life of the Quechua and Aymara communities who grow them. These farmers still take advantage of its medicinal qualities. The juice of their local varieties helps to control nasty coughs, for example.

The nutritional value of these superior indigenous varieties is also impressive. Unlike the fat, white, starch-filled varieties used to make French fries, the small, colourful, and pockmarked types in the Andes are full of protein, vitamin C, and important antioxidants. And they taste a lot better!