Every August 19, America celebrates National Potato Day. For spud lovers, this is a holiday to commemorate. It’s the perfect date to celebrate and enjoy your most favorite vegetable.
Potato is a versatile spud that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. It’s edible in its raw form, but it’s usually cooked by boiling, frying, or baking. Potato is found in countless recipes. What makes it stand out is that you can mix many things with it, and no matter how you cook it, people can’t seem to get enough.
In the US, the top potato producing state is Idaho. Second in line is Washington, followed by Wisconsin, Colorado, and North Dakota.
Potato Nutrition Facts
This starchy vegetable often gets a bad reputation when it comes to nutrition. In their original form, potatoes are healthy, but most Americans like their potatoes fried and seasoned with salt to the max. That makes the spud unhealthy. The healthiest way to consume it is to keep it baked or boiled away from fat and too much salt if you like potatoes. Potatoes are nutrient-rich carbohydrate source, but the calories can creep up easily depending on the method of cooking and the portion sizes.
These are some nutrition facts about potatoes:
1. It’s rich in potassium.
A medium 5.3-ounce potato with the skin has 620 mg of potassium per serving – even more than a medium-sized banana. Potassium is an essential electrolyte that aids in the nervous system, cardiovascular, and muscle function. It also helps maintain healthy blood pressure, reducing the risk of hypertension, stroke, and heart diseases.
2. It’s a good source of vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 plays a vital role in protein and carbohydrate metabolism. A medium-sized potato provides 6% of the recommended daily value of iron, which helps carry oxygen to every part of the body.
3. It contains vitamin C.
A medium-sized potato has 27 mg of vitamin C per serving. Vitamin C plays an essential role in collagen production and immune function. This vitamin stabilizes or eliminates free radicals in the body, which helps prevent cellular damage. It also supports iron absorption.
4. It’s a nutrient-dense complex carbohydrate.
Carbohydrates are a primary fuel for the brain and body, and it’s the critical source of energy for the muscles. A medium-sized potato offers 26 grams of carbohydrates.
5. It’s naturally gluten-free.
If you’re on a gluten-free diet, consider adding potatoes to your meals. They are naturally gluten-free, which won’t trigger uncomfortable symptoms for those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
6. Its resistant starch can help control blood sugar and improve digestion.
Potatoes contain resistant starch, a type of starch that is not broken down and fully absorbed by the body. Resistant starch is linked to various health benefits, such as reducing insulin resistance, improving blood sugar control. The resistant starch in potatoes can also improve digestion. As the starch reaches the large intestine, it becomes food for good bacteria inside the gut.
Most Popular Potato-Based Food Items
The average American eats 125 pounds of potatoes a year. That’s a lot! It’s no secret that Americans love their potatoes and that it’s the most commonly consumed vegetable around the nation. Unsurprisingly, the most popular way to consume potatoes is in its French fry form. French fries even landed on the top spot for the most popular potato ordered for breakfast, beating hash browns and breakfast potatoes. Traditional French fries beat waffle fries when it comes to the debate over the best type of fry.
Here are the top most popular potato-based items in 2019, based on the customer order data analyzed by DoorDash:
- French fries
- Hash browns
- Waffle fries
- Mashed potatoes
- Potato salad
- Tater tots
- Baked potato
- Potato skins
- Home fries
- Loaded tater tots
As for the most popular condiment for potato orders, the cheese sauce was the most popular. Ketchup lands at the number 2 spot.
Unusual Hacks to do with a Potato
You can celebrate National Potato Day in other ways besides eating it or transforming it into a dish or a snack. The versatility of potato transcends the kitchen, as it can be useful for many other things. Here are some unusual and unexpected uses for a potato:
1. Soothe burns.
Potatoes can help in the healing of minor burns, thanks to its antibacterial properties. Cut the spuds into thin slices, and apply it to the burn. You can grate the potatoes and mix them with little water to use as a poultice.
2. Remove stains from your hands.
Handling berries and food coloring can leave a stain on your hands that can’t be easily removed by soap and water. Simply rub your hands with raw, cut potato, and the stains can be gone in no time.
3. Get rid of puffy eyes and reduce wrinkles.
Potatoes can help reduce wrinkles and blemishes in the skin. Do this by mashing potatoes with lemon juice, then apply it on the skin. Potatoes also aid in getting rid of puffy eyes. Apply raw, cold slices of potatoes to your eyes for 20 minutes to help reduce the puffiness.
4. Use it as a hot or cold compress.
Got an ache in your body, and you’re out of painkillers? Just boil a potato and wrap it in a towel for an instant, make-shift hot compress. If you need a cold compress, you can put that boiled potato in the freezer.
5. Shine your silverware.
After boiling a potato for a dish (or for a hot or cold compress), don’t throw out the water just yet. If you have tarnished silverware that needs a little shining, the water left behind after boiling can remove tarnish from silver without using abrasives. Soak your silverware for about an hour to make them shiny again.
6. Polish your shoes.
Your forks and spoons aren’t the only things that can be polished by a potato. If you need to get some shoes shined, simply cut a potato in half and rub your shoe with the raw potato. See how it can shine your dirty shoe.
7. Remove rust.
Rusted tools and silverware can get a little help from the humble potato. Cut a potato in half and rub the inner surface on a rusty tool. The acid in the potato can help remove the rust without hardcore scrubbing.