A potato is a vegetable. The scientific name of potato is Solanum tuberosum. The edible portion of the potato is a tuber that grows underground. Many vitamins and minerals, including potassium and vitamin C, are abundant in potatoes. Also, potatoes are mostly carbohydrate, with some protein and fiber thrown in for good measure. Not only these things but also they contain a high concentration of bioactive plant chemicals. Those are concentrated largely in the skin. When considering potatoes, there is some confusion among people in society. Is a potato a stem or a root? Let’s understand it correctly here and discuss other many food facts related to potatoes.
Before we move on to the main topic, let’s discuss the history of potatoes briefly. It is a good thing to increase our knowledge about potatoes.
Potatoes were first cultivated in Peru around 8000 BC to 5000 BC. In 1536, Spanish conquistadors conquered Peru, discovering the potato’s tastes, and transporting them to Europe. The plant was a big crop in Ireland by the end of the 17th century, and it was a big crop in continental Europe, particularly Germany, and the west of England. It happened by the end of the 18th century. When considering potatoes, it took nearly four decades to spread over Europe.
A single potato plant can produce between 10 and 20 potatoes. Another interesting truth about potatoes is that they can only be grown once. It means that you can only harvest potatoes from each plant once.
After considering the history briefly, let’s move on to our main topic. Then you can clarify your idea about potatoes.
Is a potato a stem?
Potatoes are the most consumable vegetable worldwide. But there is still some confusion about whether the potato is a root or a stem.
Many people think it is a root because they usually grow in the ground. But it’s a tuberous stem from a biological standpoint. It is, in fact, a swollen and underground-growing portion of the stem. Actually, it’s a tuber, which is a modified stem that develops underground. Stolons, which are stem portions, join them. The stored starch causes certain underground stems to swell. So, is a potato a stem? The answer is “Yes”. Potato is a stem and it is not a root.
When it comes to forms, potatoes might be round, oval, or cylindrical in shape, all of which are irregular. In general, the shape of a potato varies depending on the soil type. Potatoes will be little if the soil is hard. On the other hand, if the soil is porous, the potato can develop large enough to weigh nearly 200-300 grams or more.
The potato plant has a branching stem and leaves that are alternately oriented and have unequally sized and shaped leaflets. The leaflets can range in shape from oval to oblong, and the leaves can grow to be 10–30 cm long and 5–15 cm wide. Potato tubers are found in the top 25 cm of the soil and grow underground. Depending on the cultivar, the tubers might be yellow, red, or purple. Potato plants can grow to be over 1 m tall and are grown as annual plants that only last one growing season. These are very interesting facts that we can consider about potatoes.
Why is a potato a stem?
Potato, being a stem, has particular qualities that only a stem may have. Roots are unable to display these traits since they are not designed to execute these functions. Also, potato tubers have buds that sprout leaves and stems, whereas potato roots lack these characteristics. When considering all the above facts, we can say that a potato is a stem.
Why is potato not a root?
Now we know that potato is a stem. Also, it is not a root. But, why is potato not a root? Here we are going to discuss this fact.
There are some points that differentiate a stem from a root. One fact is budding. When considering budding, potatoes produce buds that can grow into new plants. Direct budding cannot be seen on any root. In truth, roots can grow into new plants, but in this instance, the stem will develop first, followed by the leaves, all with perfect root structure. Also, a typical root absorbs and transports water and minerals to the plant. A modified stem, such as potato, is designed to retain prepared food for future generations. Because the two jobs are so dissimilar, they will behave differently in the presence of water. Also, stems have stolons too.
According to these changes, we can differentiate a stem from a root. Also, we can identify a potato as a stem and it is not a root.
Now I think you may have a better understanding of this confusion. Also, now you know the difference between a stem and a root. So, let’s find some more facts about potatoes.
Uses of potatoes
There are many purposes of potatoes that we can get other than cooking at home. Mainly potatoes are processed into food products and food ingredients. Some examples are processing into starch in the food industry and feeding to cattle, and pigs.
- Fresh potatoes can be roasted, boiled, or fried, and they’re utilized in a wide variety of dishes. Examples are potato pancakes, potato soup, potato salad, and mashed potato. There are some other food recipes too.
- People use potatoes for producing value-added products in the food industry. Frozen potatoes are one of the main items and we can include french fries in this category.
- Compared to wheat and maize starches, potato starch has a higher viscosity. So, potato starch is tastier. We can use it as a thickener for stews and sauces. Also, it uses in cake mixes and biscuits as binding agents.
- Also, potatoes used to make dehydrated potato flakes. It uses as an ingredient in snack production.
- The starch in mashed potatoes is converted to fermentable sugars, which are employed in the distillation of alcoholic beverages like vodka and akvavit.
- Potato peels liquefy and use to produce fermented fuel-grade ethanol.
- Potato starch widely utilizes as an adhesive, binder, texturing agent, and filler in the pharmaceutical, textile, wood, and paper sectors, as well as by oil drilling companies to clean boreholes.
- Not only the above things but also people use potatoes as animal feed in some countries. Mainly in the Russian Federation and other east European countries.
The above uses of potatoes are very important to know when considering the facts under the topic of “Is a potato a stem?”
When considering potatoes, we can get various benefits and the above uses are also beneficial. But here we are going to give you some uncommon benefits of potatoes that people are not talking about mainly in society.
Uncommon benefits of potatoes
- Absorb salt. You can put some cubes of potatoes into the food (like soup) while cooking if you over salt. Don’t overcook the potato to the point where it dissolves into the soup. Allow just enough time for it to almost finish cooking. Then it will absorb a fair amount of salt. After that, you can discard them.
- Remove skin stains. Rub the stained skin with a piece of chopped raw potato if you’ve strained your hands with foods like beetroot or turmeric during food preparation.
- Reduce puffiness around the eyes. If you are unable to find cucumbers, you can use slices of raw potatoes. These vegetables’ enzymes and astringent qualities assist to reduce inflammation and tighten the skin. This treatment will also aid in the removal of wrinkles and dark circles around your eyes.
- Soothe burns in the kitchen. If you get some burn in the kitchen, rub a potato slice gently over the burned area. The starch claims to help reduce scarring by neutralizing the burn. The potato’s cooling will also aid in relieving the pain.
- Glass cleaner. Rub the stains on your glass with the flesh side of a potato skin. This should get rid of any dirt that has accumulated. This advice gives us a new reason to save the skins from our potatoes after they’ve been cooked. Also, you won’t have to use a glass cleaner that could be damaging to your health.
- Polish the silverware. We can use the water that used to boil potatoes. Then keep the silverware in the potato water. Allow at least an hour for it to sit. To remove the tarnish, remove the silver and clean it dry.
When considering potatoes, people usually don’t know about things. So, you will be able to get this valuable information through this article.
Is a potato a stem? Now we have no confusion about it. Also, there are more facts in this article such as the uses and some uncommon benefits of potatoes. So, I think this article gives valuable information about potatoes and you can practice many benefits in day to day life. Not only about potatoes but also you can know many facts related to the food industry through your Food Planet. So, stay with us, and please consider following us on Facebook and Instagram.