The potato is one vegetable that is abundant throughout the year. It comes in many varieties. Though called “Irish”, the white potato is native to the mountains of tropical America from Chile to Mexico, and was widely cultivated in South America at the time of the Spanish Conquest. The Spaniards introduced the potato into Europe early in the sixteenth century, and it was Sir Walter Raleigh who showed England how to eat the potato with beef gravy. He, too, started the potato fad in colonial Virginia, but it was Sir Francis Drake who was supposed to have brought the potato to Ireland. The potato soon became second only to Indian corn as the most important food contribution of the Americas, and is now one of the most valuable vegetable crops in the world.
The potato is classed as a protective vegetable because of its high vitamin C content. It has been noted in the past that, as the potato became common, scurvy, which is prevalent where vitamin C is absent, became uncommon, and soon disappeared almost entirely in potato-eating countries.
If we had to confine ourselves to one food, the potato is the one on which we could live almost indefinitely, exclusive of other foods, as it is a complete food in itself. It was Professor Hinhede of Denmark, a food scientist during the last war, who proved to the world that a person could live on potatoes for a long period of time without any depreciation of body energy. In fact he and his assistant lived three years solely on potatoes-raw and cooked. He not only proved the potato to be a complete food, but he also showed how inexpensive a diet it was at a cost of approximately only six cents a day. It is good, however, to eat potatoes with other vegetables; eating them by themselves may eventually cause constipation.
When selecting potatoes make sure they are smooth, shallow-eyed, and reasonably unblemished. Avoid the extra large .potato as it may have a hollow or pithy center. Potatoes with a slight green color are sunburned and may have developed a bitter taste.
The energy value of the potato is approximately the same as bread, but it is a far better balanced food than bread, particularly in its content of potassium, iron, and vitamins C, B1 , and G. The potato is also lower in calories. Because potatoes are a starchy food, they put less work on the kidneys.
It is best to eat potatoes in as raw a form as possible. However, raw, cut potatoes should be eaten as soon as they are cut, as their oxidation is very rapid. I know of no other food that will turn green, ferment, and break down quicker than potatoes will when they have been juiced.
Potatoes may be sliced raw and used in salads. Juice them, mixed with parsley, beets, or other vegetables for flavor. Potato juice is . a great rejuvenator and is a quick way to get an abundance of vitamin C as well as other vitamins and minerals. Why not munch on a raw potato? It is no more peculiar for a child to eat a piece of raw potato than it is for him to eat a raw apple.
Instead of throwing away the potato peeling, eat it, because it is rich in mineral elements. At least 60 percent of the potassium contained in the potato lies so close to the skin that it cannot be saved if the potato is peeled. Furthermore, potassium is a salt, and you do not need to salt potatoes if the potato peelings are used. If you feel you need more seasoning, use a mineral broth powder (dehydrated vegetables) instead of table salt. Even using sweet butter in place of salted butter is better, and is not difficult to get used to when the flavor is enhanced with the addition of broth powder.
There are numerous ways to prepare and serve potatoes. They have a bland flavor, so they can be used frequently in meals. It is best to cook potatoes on a low heat, if possible, and if they are not baked they should be cooked in a vapor-sealed vessel to retain their goodness. The art of cooking can be used to build or to destroy.
It is necessary that we realize the difference between a properly steamed potato and a boiled potato-one is alkaline and the other is acid. According to the Bureau of Home Economics, United States Department of Agriculture, when ordinary cooking methods are used, from 32 to 76 percent of the essential food values, minerals, and vitamins are lost due to oxidation, or are destroyed by heat or dissolved in water. In a vapor-sealed utensil, oxidation is practically eliminated, less heat is required, and waterless cooking is possible . The vitamins and minerals are preserved for you and are not carried away by escaping steam.
The outside of the potato is the positive side. The negative side is the inside. The inside is carbohydrate and is acid in body reaction. So, it is best, when making alkalinizing broths for example, that you discard the center of the potato before adding the potato to the broth ingredients. Throw this part of the potato into your garden if you have one and it will do its part to rebuild the soil.
In preparing potatoes for cooking, scrub and wash them thoroughly. Use a stiff brush to remove the dirt. To bake, drop them first in very hot water to heat them, then rub them with oil to keep their skins from getting too hard in the process of baking and to help them be more easily digested. Remember to bake them at a slow oven heat. In the last five minutes of baking raise the oven heat to about 400°F to break down the starch grains.
Before serving baked potatoes, they may be cut in half, scooped out, and mashed with nut butter, avocado, or a little grated cheese. Garnish with parsley or chives. Or, take plain, baked potatoes, split open, and serve with a Roquefort, cream, and chive dressing.
Potatoes leave an alkaline ash in the body, are low in roughage, and may be used in the treatment of acidosis. They can also be used for catarrhal conditions.
When trying to overcome catarrhal conditions, cut the potato peeling about a half-inch thick and use it in broth or soup, cooking very little. The resulting broth will contain many important mineral elements.
Potato soup can also be used to great advantage in cases of uric acid, kidney, and stomach disorders, and for replacing minerals in the system. To make potato soup, peel six potatoes, making sure the peelings are about three-quarters of an inch thick. Place in water in a covered kettle and simmer twenty minutes. Add celery to change the flavor if desired. Add okra powder if the stomach is irritated.
The potassium in the potato is strongly alkaline, which makes for good liver activation, elastic tissues, and supple muscles. It also produces body grace and a good disposition. Potassium is the ”healer” of the body and is very necessary in rejuvenation. It is good heart element also, and potatoes can be used very well in all cases of heart troubles.
Anyone with ailments on the left side of the body-the negative side, or the heart and intestinal side of the body-can use carbohydrates that are negative in character. Potatoes are one of the best negative foods to use for building up the left side of the body.
To use an old remedy, take slices of potatoes and use as a pack over any congested part of the body. This type of pack draws out static, toxic material, or venous congestion in any part of the body. Use a narrow, thumb-shaped piece of potato to help correct hemorrhoid conditions.
To control diarrhea, cook potato soup with milk. The milk controls the diarrhea-it has a constipating effect, if boiled. The potato adds bulk, which is also necessary to control this trouble.
The raw potato juice is one of the most volatile juices and the strongest juice that can be taken into the body. It is used in many cases of intestinal disorders, as well as for rejuvenation.
NUTRIENTS IN ONE POUND (raw and pared)
Vitamin A trace
Niacin 4.4 mg
Ascorbic acid 64mg
The sweet potato should be thought of as a true root and not a tuber, as is commonly believed. It has been one of the most popular foods of tropical and subtropical countries for centuries. Columbus and his men were fed boiled roots by the natives of the West Indies, which these men described as ”not unlike chestnuts in flavor.” This new food was carried back to Spain, and from there it was introduced to European countries. De Soto found sweet potatoes growing in the gardens of the Indians who lived in the territory that is now called Louisiana.
During the Civil War, troops short of rations found they could live indefinitely on sweet potatoes alone. The Japanese on Okinawa could not have held out as long as they did if they had not been able to raid sweet potato patches at night. In 1913 the supply of sweet potatoes was so large and the demand so small that Louisiana towns sold them for fifty cents a barrel.
There are two main types of sweet potatoes; those that are mealy when cooked, and those that are wet when cooked-popularly miscalled ”yams.” Actually, there are few yams grown in this country, and they are grown almost solely in Florida.
Decay in sweet potatoes spreads rapidly and may give the en tire potato a disagreeable flavor. This decay may appear in the form of dark, circular spots or as soft, wet rot, or dry, shriveled, discolored and sunken areas, usually at the ends of the root.
Use the sweet potato baked, steamed, or roasted, in puddings or pies. Whenever possible, they should be cooked in their jackets, to conserve the nutrients. If you wish to discard the skin, this vegetable is much easier to peel when cooked. When combining the sweet potato with other foods, remember that it is a little more difficult to digest than the white potato.
The sweet potato is good for the eliminative system, but is a little more difficult to digest than the white potato. It contains a great deal of vitamin A and is a good source of niacin.
NUTRIENTS IN ONE POUND
Protein: 6.2 g
Fat: 1.5 g
Carbohydrates: 96.6 g
Calcium: 117 mg
Phosphorus: 173 mg
Iron: 2.7 mg
Vitamin A: 30,0301 U.
Thiamine: 0.37 mg
Riboflavin: 0.23 mg
Niacin: 2.8 mg
Ascorbic acid: 77 mg