Potatoes have a long and storied history, Ancient Incans worshipped them; the Irish blamed them for a Famine. Today, they are the fourth largest food crop in the world. A genetic study shows that modern potatoes were cultivated from two wild ancestors. They resemble gnarly fingers, and their bitterness makes them unappetizing, whether baked, mashed, or fried. The foundation for all modern cultivated potatoes, come from the Chilean variety, The Canary Islands, off northwest Africa. Shipping records from 1567 make these islands the first known home to potatoes outside of Central and South America.
There are 151 known species of wild potato. Wild species are found from southwestern United States to southern Chile, with most species concentrated in Peru and Bolivia. They grow in diverse soils and climates, from the dry desert along the Peruvian coast
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Idaho, the present-day largest producer of potatoes, actually did not begin growing potatoes until 1836, when missionaries moved west in an effort to teach the native tribes to grow crops instead of relying upon hunting and gathering methods. However, it wasn’t until 1872 when the Russet Burbank variety was developed, that the Idaho potato industry began to flourish.
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Potatoes are an excellent, low-fat source of Carbohydrates, with one-fourth the calories of bread. Boiled, they have more protein than Maize and almost twice the calcium. An average serving of potatoes with the skin on provides about 10 percent of the recommended daily intake of Fiber.