Potato Fun Facts
During the Alaskan Klondike gold rush, (1897-1898) potatoes were practically worth their weight in gold. Potatoes were valued for their vitamin C. And gold, at that time, was more plentiful than nutritious foods!
In October 1995, the potato became the first vegetable to be grown in space. NASA and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, created the technology with the goal of feeding astronauts on long space voyages, and eventually, feeding future space colonies.
Interesting uses of Potatoes
The Incas had many uses for potatoes other than dinner:
- Placed raw slices on broken bones to promote healing
- Carried them to prevent rheumatism
- Ate with other foods to prevent indigestion.
- Measured time: by correlating units of time by how long it took for potatoes to cook.
Various folk remedies recommend using potatoes:
- Treat facial blemishes by washing you face daily with cool potato juice.
- Treat frostbite or sunburn by applying raw grated potato or potato juice to the affected area.
- Help a toothache by carrying a potato in your pocket.
- Ease a sore throat by putting a slice of baked potato in a stocking and tying it around your throat.
- Ease aches and pains by rubbing the affected area with the water potatoes have been boiled in.
A. Parmentier helped King Louis XIV popularize the potato in France in the 18th century. Parmentier created a feast with only potato dishes, a concept he realized was possible when he was imprisoned in Germany and fed only potatoes. Benjamin Franklin, ambassador to France, was in attendance of Parmentier's feast in 1767.
French Fries were introduced to the U.S. when Thomas Jefferson served them in the White House during his Presidency of 1801-1809.
Some of the most famous potato dishes we enjoy today were created by mistake Collinet, chef for French King Louis Phillipe (reign 1830-1848) unintentionally created soufflés (or puffed) potatoes by plunging already fried potatoes into extremely hot oil to reheat them when the King arrived late for dinner one night. To the chef's surprise and the king's delight, the potatoes puffed up like little balloons.
Potato Chips In 1853 railroad magnate Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt complained that his potatoes were cut too thick and sent them back to the kitchen at a fashionable resort in Saratoga Springs, NY. To spite his haughty guest, Chef George Crum sliced some potatoes paper thin, fried them in hot oil, salted and served them. To everyone's surprise, Vanderbilt loved his "Saratoga Crunch Chips," and potato chips have been popular ever since.
POTATOES IN FOLK MEDICINE
Potatoes are filled with potassium and vitamins A and C. They are extremely nutritional and are a wonderful source of fiber. In addition, potatoes have alkaline which helps detoxify the body.
* Eaten daily, potatoes can help prevent constipation, heart disease and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
* Eating a raw potato can help reduce heartburn.
* Potato juice helps relieve stomach ulcers and arthritis pain.
* A warm baked potato applied to the elbow can help ease discomfort of tennis elbow.
Curative Properties of the Potato
Jun 28th, 2011 | By Esther | Category: Alternative Health, Health | Print This Article Potatoes originated in the South American country of Peru. They were cultivated there by the Incas for over two thousand years before they were discovered by the Spanish conquistadors, who were exploring for gold and silver. Incan communities used potatoes for healing broken bones and relieving rheumatism and indigestion, and they were thought to be a major part of the Indians’ diet. When the conquistadors did not find the gold they were seeking, they starting shipping potatoes back to Spain in the 1530’s. However, potatoes were not trusted for food right away, as they are a part of a family of toxic plants called nightshades. In fact, some have commented that if potatoes were a modern find, they would be deemed unsafe for human consumption for this family relationship. It would take about 200 years for the potato to become a popular table item.
Potatoes are relatively inexpensive, grown rather easily, and have useful medicinal purposes, to boot. Since their introduction to Europe and their belated popularity, remedies from the once ignored potato have come from around the world, including Korea, Central America, England, and the United States, where the potato has been used to treat a variety of skin ailments. These treatments range from acne and warts to frostbite and burns. The National Potato Board has even recommended using peeled, shredded, and soaked potatoes as a facial mask for drying oily skin. Russian folklore has suggested that those over 40 should grate and eat a medium sized raw potato daily, before breakfast, to keep the arteries clear and increase blood flow to the heart. In some rural areas of England, those suffering from rheumatism still carry potatoes in their pockets, hoping that they will absorb some of the acid from their bodies. They are replaced every few days and the old ones thrown away.
Potatoes have been found to be a highly nutritious vegetable. Starch is the main component of potatoes, but they also contain small amounts of protein and alkaline salts. They are also rich in vitamin c, b-complex vitamins, and beneficial levels of the minerals iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. Many of the nutrients in potatoes are found in their skin, so more benefits have been attributed to eating them whole as opposed to peeled.
Potatoes have many constituents including a host of tannins, flavonoids, and alkaloids. The tannins have a drying action which has been linked to relieving diarrhea. They have also been used externally for burns and inflammation. In folk medicine, the use of potatoes for bone and muscle pain is partially due to their ability to hold heat for long periods of time, allowing it to penetrate deep into ones tissues. The converse is also true, as they hold cold well and are also used as a compress for treating burns and scalding.
Successful experimental treatments for gout and rheumatism have been made in recent years from the juice of raw potatoes and using the vital mineral salts found in the water of boiled potatoes. Potassium, sulfur, phosphorus, and chloride in an uncooked potato are useful for treating acne blemishes; while their enzymes and vitamin c can nourish the skin, remove unhealthy tissues and make it younger looking. Folklore claims that an uncooked potato, freshly cut and placed on a wart several times daily, will remove it. This treatment has also been recommended for removing splinters and relieving bags under the eyes.
Potatoes should be omitted from the diet of those with venereal diseases and those who are prone to aphrodisiac tendencies as they contains an alkaloid toxin (solanine) which affects the sexual organs. Solanine poison is more prevalent in potatoes too green in color. The combination of cooked meat and the afore mentioned ‘too green’ potatoes cooked intensifies this poisonous actions. Together, with the presence of uric acid crystals resulting from the poor digestion of the meat, they may cause severe irritation of the sexual organs.
- Potato Therapy: chronic constipation, intestinal toxemia [Preeclampsia], gout, kidney stones, and dropsy have been treated with a potato diet. Beneficial results have been achieved by eating thus for several months. On the potato diet, you can prepare them in various ways; baked, steamed, and in a soup. Other vegetables which can be eaten on this diet are spinach, beet tops, turnip tops, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, and other green vegetables.
- Scurvy: Potatoes are an excellent treatment for scurvy. Use of ‘potato cream’ or mashed potatoes are common in cases of infantile scurvy. Since the acceptance of the potato in Europe, scurvy has decreased in appearance, only showing up when the crop fails.
- Rheumatism (Arthritis): Raw potato juice is an excellent natural remedy for treating rheumatism. One or two teaspoons pressed out of mashed, raw potatoes should be taken before meals to eliminate acid conditions and relieve rheumatism. The skin of a potato is also good for relieving rheumatism, as it is very rich in vital mineral salts. The water the skins have been boiled in is a good medicine for all acid-causing digestive disorders. The peelings should be washed thoroughly and boiled for 3-5 minutes. It should then be strained and a cup taken three to four times daily, as needed.
- Digestive System: Raw potato juice is valuable in stomach and intestinal disorders. Ulcers of the stomach are treated with the juice of pink potatoes. Potato juice has also been used to relieve gastritis. The recommended dose is half a cup two or three times daily an hour before meals. Potato starch has been given as an anti-inflammatory for gastrointestinal diseases and toxins.
- Skin Cleanser/Revitalizer: The enzymes, vitamin C, and starch found in raw potatoes can make a skin food that nourishes starved skin tissues. The alkaline properties of potato juice have an antiseptic action that leaves the skin a youthful glow. Much of the old skin is sloughed off by the acidic portion of the pulp.
UNUSUAL USE OF POTATOES
Potatoes are a staple for many countries across the world, and it’s a good source of protein, carbohydrates, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, thiamine, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and iron. Despite being good to eat, you’ll be surprised at the different ways people have used this root crop over the years. Since potatoes are relatively cheap in the market, you may want to try some of these surprising uses for yourself!
- Make vodka. We know that grain products and sugar beet molasses are used to create vodka, but did you know that potatoes are one of the sources of vodka, too? You can even make vodka in your own home should you have an excess of potatoes lying around in your house.
- Potato juice as cure. Potato juice may not sound like the yummiest thing in the world, but it’s touted as a very effective cure for different ailments. It can help alleviate pain caused by ulcers, as well as spasmodic upper body pain. Potato juice also helps heal sprains, gout, sciatica, heart burns, bruises and flush out toxins in our body. That’s a lot of ailments that potato juice can help curing or relieving! To prepare potato juice, simply pop in cleaned potatoes with their skins on in the juicer, and that’s it. They are usually bland, but you can add celery or carrots to make the potato juice more delicious.
- Skin care. Potatoes can also help you with your skin problems. Acne, blackheads and whiteheads can be treated using potatoes in two methods. The first method is to simply cut a potato in half and rubbing the inside part of it on the affected area. Leave the juice on for half a minute and rinse. The other method is to make a face mask. To make the face mask, blend the potatoes in the blender and apply the paste on your face. Leave it on for 30 minutes and rinse off.
- A staple in big industries. Potato starch is largely used by the textile, wood, paper, pharmaceutical and oil drilling firms as binder, adhesive, texture agent, filler and wash for boreholes.
- An alternative to plastic. Potato starch is also a completely biodegradable alternative to polystyrene, and can be used to create plastic items, such as plastic dishes, forks and spoons. Potato starch is also being developed as a biodegradable packaging material.
- Developing pictures. Before digital photography and before color film, there was Autochrome. Autochrome was the principal way to develop color photos before the introduction of photo film and used tiny, microscopic grains of potato starch.
- Making ethanol. Even so-called potato “waste” is a potential gold mine. Canada’s potato-growing New Brunswick has estimated that 44,000 tons of potato processing waste could be liquefied and fermented to produce fuel-grade ethanol.
- Art. Potatoes come in all shapes and sizes. Artists all over recognize the beauty of the potato and turn them into works of art. Potatoes are featured in sculptures and even in paintings, most notably Van Gogh’s “The Potato Eaters.”
- Stamps. Making potato stamps are a fun and interesting way to introduce children to carving. Simply cut a potato in half, carve a shape using a pen knife, and slowly slice away the extra potato parts so that the shape protrudes from the rest of the potato. Then get some stamping ink, and stamp away!
- Power a clock. Potatoes contain energy, and quite literally too. You can power a simple clock by hooking them up to a couple of potatoes. You can read more about it here.