The potato belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family whose other members include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tomatillos. They are the swollen portion of the underground stem which is called a tuber and is designed to provide food for the green leafy portion of the plant. Potatoes are a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, dietary fiber, and pantothenic acid.

Selection and storage

Choose potatoes that are firm, well shaped and relatively smooth, and should be free of decay that often manifests as wet or dry rot. In addition, they should not be sprouting or have green coloration since this indicates that they may contain the toxic alkaloid solanine. The ideal way to store potatoes is in a dark, dry place between 45F-50F (between 7-10C) as higher temperatures, even room temperature, will cause the potatoes to sprout and dehydrate. Mature potatoes stored properly can keep up to two months.

Preparation and serving methods

The potato skin is a great source of dietary fiber. To get the most nutritional value, don't peel the potatoes - enjoy both the flesh and the skin. Scrub the potato under cold running water right before cooking and cut out any deep eyes or bruises.