The potato, like man, was not meant to dwell alone.
They are almost always eaten cooked. People cook potatoes by boiling, baking, roasting, or frying them. French f” chips” are potatoes cut into long pieces and fried until they are soft. Potato chips, often called crisps, are potatoes cut into very thin round pieces and fried until they are hard.
“The man who has nothing to boast of but his ancestors is like a potato - the only good belonging to him is under ground.”Sir Thomas Overbury (1581-1613)
There are close to 4,000 varieties of potato each of which has specific agricultural or culinary attributes. Around 80 varieties are commercially available in the UK. In general, varieties are categorized into a few main groups based on common characteristics, such as russet potatoes (rough brown skin), red potatoes, white potatoes, yellow potatoes (also called Yukon potatoes) and purple potatoes.
Potato plants are herbaceous perennials that grow about 60 cm (24 in) high, depending on variety, with the leaves dying back after flowering, fruiting and tuber formation. They bear white, pink, red, blue, or purple flowers with yellow stamens. Potatoes are mostly cross-pollinated by insects such as bumblebees, which carry pollen from other potato plants, though a substantial amount of self-fertilizing occurs as well. Tubers form in response to decreasing day length, although this tendency has been minimized in commercial varieties.
There are about 5,000 potato varieties worldwide. Three thousand of them are found in the Andes alone, mainly in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Colombia. They belong to eight or nine species, depending on the taxonomic school. Apart from the 5,000 cultivated varieties, there are about 200 wild species and subspecies, many of which can be cross-bred with cultivated varieties. Cross-breeding has been done repeatedly to transfer resistances to certain pests and diseases from the gene pool of wild species to the gene pool of cultivated potato species.
The potato is a starchy tuber of the plant Solanum tuberosum and is a root vegetable native to the Americas. The plant is a perennial in the nightshade family Solanaceae. Wild potato species can be found throughout the Americas, from Canada to southern Chile.