Fun Stuff

Tips, Recipes,
and Facts!

To learn more about your favourite food, browse through this section, packed with Helpful Tips, Nutritional Facts and Spud Facts.

Helpful Tips

When you store potatoes, place an apple in with them for company and they won’t sprout.

Potatoes will keep for several weeks if stored in a cool, well ventilated, dark place

Potatoes should not be stored near garlic or onions because both emit gases that will speed up the deterioration of the other.

Raw potatoes should never be refrigerated because the chill converts the starch to sugar, which causes the flesh to become sweet.

Don't buy potatoes that are soft or that have excessive cuts, cracks, bruises, discoloration or decay. Also, avoid green potatoes; they have been exposed to light which means they are coming out of dormancy. If you buy green potatoes, simply pare away the green portion, which sometimes can be bitter.

New Potatoes are young, newly harvested potatoes of any variety. They have thin, feathery skins and are best boiled and eaten with the skins on. They should be stored in the refrigerator and used within one week.

The green tinge appears when a potato is exposed to light or sun. Don't eat the green parts. There are unpleasant bitter flavours around the green spots, which in large amounts are poisonous. Cut away the green parts before preparing the potatoes.

These bruises or black spots are caused by dropping potatoes from a height of more than 6 inches. Treat potatoes gently!

Handle Prince Edward Island Potatoes gently. Remember, like other fruits and vegetables, they are perishable. Potatoes seem hardy and indestructible but they bruise easily if dropped or when something heavy is placed on them.

When you bring potatoes home, take them out of the plastic bag and put them in a paper bag. This protects them from light and lets them breathe.

Store potatoes in a cool, dark, well-ventilated area at temperatures between 7-10 degrees C (45-50 degrees F). Your kitchen cupboard may be much too warm; an outside wall or dark closet elsewhere in your home will be cooler and more suitable for storing potatoes. Never refrigerate potatoes unless they are "New" potatoes. Cold temperatures can cause dark spots and an unpleasant, sweet flavour when cooked, while warm temperatures encourage sprouting, shriveling and loss of nutrients and moisture.

Prince Edward Island Potatoes are convenient and versatile. Before cooking, wash gently with a vegetable brush using cool water.

Potatoes contribute many nutrients to our diets. To keep the nutrient content high:

  • Cook potatoes with skins on whenever possible.
  • If peeling, use a vegetable parer or sharp knife and keep the peeling very thin since some of the nutrients are found close to the skin.
  • Cook whole or in large pieces for the shortest time possible.
  • Use low heat and a small amount of water.
  • Save leftover cooking liquid for gravy, soups, stews or baked goods.
In a heavy saucepan with a tight fitting lid, cook potatoes in about 2.5cm (1") of boiling water for 20-30 minutes or until fork tender. Drain immediately to prevent soggy potatoes.
Place a wire rack or steamer in a large saucepan. Add water, bring to a boil, add potatoes and cook tightly covered 30-40 minutes or until fork tender. Steaming is an excellent way to save nutrients.

Drain and peel boiled or steamed potatoes. Mash using a potato masher, electric mixer, ricer, or food processor. Gradually add some milk and beat until light and fluffy. The amount of milk used will depend on the texture and moistness of the potatoes. If you add hot milk to potatoes when you are mashing them, they won't become heavy, lumpy or soggy. Cold milk tends to cause the starch in the potato to form a solid. Butter, salt and pepper or other seasonings may be added "to taste".

Choose uniform sized potatoes. Pierce the skins several times to allow steam to escape. Do not wrap in foil unless barbecuing, since this produces steamed not baked potatoes. Bake potatoes directly on the oven rack or a baking sheet until fork tender. Remove potatoes from the oven, make an "X" on one side with a fork or knife. Fluff potato with a fork or "blossom" the potato by pushing the ends toward the centre.

The following range of oven temperatures lets you bake potatoes along with the rest of the meal. Bake at:
220°C (425°F) for 40-50 minutes
190°C (375°F) for 50-60 minutes
160°C (325°F) for 75-85 minutes

To decrease baking time up to half, place metal skewers or prongs through each potato.

Boil or steam potatoes for 10 minutes, drain and peel. Place in a shallow pan, brush with melted butter or vegetable oil. Potatoes may be seasoned to taste with your choice of herbs and spices; garlic, chili powder, tarragon, rosemary, salt or pepper. Bake uncovered at 200°C (400°F) for 45 minutes, turning and basting occasionally until fork-tender.

If roasting with meat, arrange raw halved or quartered potatoes around meat in roasting pan about 1 ½ hours before serving. Turn and baste often with pan drippings.

Peel and cut raw potato into 6mm (¼") thick strips. Put strips in cold water to keep them crisp and white. Drain and dry well. Heat 10cm (4") of vegetable oil to 190°C (37°F) in a deep fat fryer. Place one layer of potato strips in wire basket, immerse in hot oil. Fry 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oil, shake well to drain, place fries on paper towel or heavy paper. Salt lightly if desired and serve immediately or keep warm in 150°C (300°F) oven until serving time.

Prepare potatoes as for regular fries. Preheat oil only to 180°C (350°F). Fry strips for 3-5 minutes or until limp but not brown. Drain well and place on paper towels. Cool at least 5 minutes or refrigerate for browning later. To re-fry, heat oil to 190°C (375°F). Immerse a single layer of fries in hot oil 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Drain well, place on paper towels, season and serve.
Wash potatoes well and cut into strips or wedges. Toss with vegetable oil (15ml / 1tbsp for 4 medium potatoes) until coated. Spread evenly on baking sheet(s) in a single layer and bake at 220°C (425°F) for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and tender. Turn potatoes over once during baking. Paprika, garlic powder or parmesan cheese are optional. If adding, toss with potatoes and oil before baking.

Peel, if desired and quarter potatoes. Place a single layer on a microwave safe dish. Add 15ml (1tbsp) of water, cover with plastic wrap and cook on full power, High (100%) for 5-7 minutes* for 1 medium potato or 10 minutes for 2 potatoes. Let stand 2 minutes.

* Times were tested in a 700 watt microwave oven. Check your manual for suggested cooking times.

Cooked potatoes such as mashed, baked, stuffed potatoes, potato patties or French fries freeze best.

Raw potatoes or cooked, cubed potatoes in dishes such as soups, stews do not freeze well. They tend to fall apart when thawed and reheated.

Nutritional Facts

Energy   -   109 Cal; 460 kj
Protein   -   3.7 g
Fat   -   0.2 g
Carbohydrate   -   23 g
Dietary Fibre   -   2.7 g
Sodium   -   5 mg
Potassium   -   729 mg
A single baked potato contains less than 250 calories and is over 99% fat free.
Most of the nutrients in a potato reside just below the skin layer.

It is recommended that you eat five servings of fruit or vegetables a day. A serving equals one-half cup.

35% of an adult's daily requirement of vitamin C can be found in a medium-sized potato.

Keep the skin! Cook the skin on as much as possible to preserve the potatoes' abundant nutrition.

Keep the water! Save the water used to steam or boil potatoes because some of the nutrients leached into it. Use the water for gravy or use it to moisten mashed potatoes. Boiled potato chunks release some of their starch in the water, which can be used for bread making.

Spud Facts

Mr. Potato Head was introduced by the Hasbro company in 1952.

The potato, a name derived from the American Indian word Batata, was introduced to Europeans by Spanish conquerors during the later 16th Century. In 1536 Spanish Conquistadors conquered Peru, became aware of the potato, and carried them to Europe.

In 1770 a crop failure gave a war its name, The Potato War, when a war between Frederick the Great and Maria Theresa forced soldiers to steal the enemy's potatoes as there was not much more food to eat. When the potatoes were finished, so did the war.

In 1770 a crop failure gave a war its name - The Potato War - when a war between Frederick the Great and Maria Theresa forced soldiers to steal the enemy's potatoes as there was not much more food to eat. When the potatoes were finished, so did the war.

In 1845 and 1846 the potato crop in Ireland was devastated by fungus. The potato had become a major food to the Irish causing the Irish Potato Famine which caused many Irish to immigrate. The population of Ireland decreased by nearly two million between 1847 and 1851.

Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes in about 200 BC

French Fries were introduced to the U.S. when Thomas Jefferson served them in the White House during his Presidency of 1802 - 1809.

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.

A potato is about 80% water and 20% solid.

The largest potato grown was 18 pounds and 4 ounces according to the Guinness Book of World Records. It was grown in England in 1795.

48.1 pounds    -    Fresh Potatoes
58.9 pounds    -    Frozen - French fries, hash browns, etc.
16.0 pounds    -    Potato chips
18.0 pounds    -    Dehydrated - mashed potato flakes, au gratin mixes, etc.
1.7 pounds    -    Canned

During the Alaskan Klondike gold rush, (1897-1898) potatoes were practically worth their weight in gold. Potatoes were so valued for their vitamin C content that miners traded gold for potatoes.

On the South Atlantic Island of Tristan de Cunha, potatoes were once used as the country's unofficial currency. Because of it's remoteness, food was most valuable.

Because the potato was unknown to them, Europeans initially considered potatoes poisonous or evil due to their similarities to the nightshade family. Some members of the nightshade family include Mandrake and Belladonna, which are used for medicinal purposes. Germany's King Frederick William realized that potatoes were a good food source and ordered peasants to plant and eat potatoes or their noses would be cut off.

Worldwide, potatoes are the 4th largest crop, averaging over 280 million metric tonnes per year. Across Canada, potato farmers grow about 4.3 million metric tonnes per year.

The potato is now a very common food item worldwide. Potatoes are grown in about 125 countries worldwide.