misunderstood by consumers.
Over the last few years potatoes
have been given a reputation as being bad for you due to some
of the recent diet fads. Potatoes
are actually very nutritious, inexpensive, are not fattening
and are a great option for every
meal every occasion. Check out
the facts vs fictions here to learn
more about the healthy potato. –Chef Hans
Potatoes are one of the oldest cultivated crops on the planet. They were first grown and harvested by the Incas around 3000BC. Explorers brought potatoes to Europe in the late 1500s because they were impressed by the potato’s ruggedness, storage quality, and nutritional value. The potato gained popularity in the 1780s when Ireland adopted the rugged food crop. Over the years it became a major food source in that country.
The Great Potato Famine of 1845 – 1852 was a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration from Ireland. Ireland’s population dropped significantly. Nearly one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland’s shores. The cause of famine was a potato disease commonly known as potato blight. Although blight ravaged potato crops throughout Europe during the 1840s, the impact and human cost in Ireland — where a third of the population was entirely dependent on the potato for food — was exacerbated by a host of political, social and economic factors which remain the subject of historical debate.
Many of the Irish people that left home during the famine settled in North America and brought the humble potato with them. Potatoes have become a major part of the western diet.
Potatoes on Prince Edward Island
According to government statistics, potatoes were not the most valuable crop on Prince Edward Island in 1900, though they were an important export and foodstuff on subsistence farms. Each fall, rural schools shut down so that farm children could help their families with the harvest. Women picked potatoes too, toiling along behind the horse-drawn beater-digger and emptying their splint-weaved baskets (often made by local Mi’kmaq) into waiting carts. (MacDonald, Edward 2000).
In 1901, 1.2 million of the Island’s 1.4 million acres were given over to agriculture; 13,749 farms crowded into the Island’s 2,184 square miles like pieces in a vast jigsaw puzzle.