18 May

Spotlight on Potatoes

A delicious steak? Surely you have to have it with some fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes …A hunger-busting burger isn’t a complete meal without some golden, crunchy fries…A pork schnitzel had to have a side of potato salad to make it an iconic german meal…seeing a pattern? Potatoes are delicious and filling vegetables that play a main component to many a favourite meal, in this post, we go more in-depth of what they have to offer and share some tips on how to get more in your diet.

Nutritional Profile

The potato belongs to the nightshade family whose other members include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tomatillos. The reason that they have spread all over the world and are widely accepted is because they are they are rich in energy, vitamins and minerals. They are a great source of vitamin B6, potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, dietary fibre, natural starch and pantothenic acid.

Main Health Benefits

  • Weight gain – they are primarily made up of carbohydrates, making them an ideal inclusion in a diet for those who want to put on weight. It’s a large part of the diet for sumo wrestlers, as well as many other athletes who need large energy reserves to burn off in order to compete.
  • Digestion – again, since they mainly contain carbohydrates, they are easy to digest and facilitate digestion. This property makes them easy for babies to eat or those who can’t digest hard food, but need energy. Potatoes also contain fibre. This stimulates peristaltic motion and increased secretion of gastric juices, which eases digestion and prevents conditions like constipation.
  • Inflammation – Choline is an abundant nutrient found in potatoes that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, and assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.

Transportation Notes

  • Potatoes are commonly packed in bags made of Hussein, polymesh or kraft paper and also in crate, barrels and cartons. Because of this, make sure there is ample ventilation. Good ventilation is essential to avoid the buildup of carbon dioxide which initially supports the sprouting process. Excess heat and moisture will cause sprouting and excess drying conditions causes evaporation and shrinking.
  • When it comes to refrigerated carriage of potatoes make sure to be aware of the temperature. If a cold cargo is discharged into a warm humid atmosphere, there’s a risk of condensation. followed in due course by massive bacterial soft rot. Starting several days before arrival, allow the cargo to warm to a temperature above the expected atmospheric dew-point. Even in the absence of condensation there remains a possibility of losses from bacterial soft rot if potatoes are held in warm, ill-ventilated conditions after discharge from the vehicle.

Selection & Storage

  • Potatoes are grown all over the world in temperate zones, and different varieties are in season all year round in Brisbane. They come in many hues (brown, white, yellow etc.) and shapes (round, oblate, oblong etc.). A high quality potato will be well shaped, brightly coloured and free from adhering soil, mechanical damage, greening, and sprouts.
  • While potatoes are often conveniently packaged in a plastic bag, it is usually better to buy them individually from a bulk display. Not only will this allow you to better inspect the potatoes for signs of decay or damage, but many times, the plastic bags are not perforated and cause a build up of moisture that can negatively affect the potatoes.
  • The ideal way to store potatoes is in a dark, dry place between7-10 degrees Celsius as higher temperatures, even room temperature, will cause the potatoes to sprout and dehydrate prematurely.
  • To maximise the potato’s quality and storage, you should aim to find a place as close as possible to these conditions, such as a cool, dark closet or basement.
  • Mature potatoes stored properly can keep up to two months. Check on the potatoes frequently, removing any that have sprouted or shriveled as spoiled ones can quickly affect the quality of the others. New potatoes are much more perishable and will only keep for one week.
  • Cooked potatoes will keep fresh in the refrigerator for several days. Potatoes do not freeze well.

Tips to reduce loss of potato nutrients

  • Avoid peeling the potatoes before cooking them. The outer shell provides a good protection against nutritional loss during the cooking process. The protein and mineral content beneath the skin is very high, so if you cook the potatoes after peeling them, most of these proteins and minerals will be lost.
  • When you boil potatoes, first heat the water to its boiling point and then add the potatoes. This will reduce the cooking time and help you maintain the Vitamin C content.
  • Minimize frying of potatoes, as most nutrients are lost during frying. You can use other cooking methods such as baking and steaming.


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