- Water 78.9%.
- Starch 18%.
- Proteid 2.1%.
- Mineral matter .9%.
- Fat .1%.
Potatoes stand pre-eminent among the vegetables used for food. They are tubers belonging to the Nightshade family; their hardy growth renders them easy of cultivation in almost any soil or climate, and, resisting early frosts, they may be raised in a higher latitude than the cereals.
They give needed bulk to food rather than nutriment, and, lacking in proteid, should be used in combination with meat, fish, or eggs.
Potatoes contain an acrid juice, the greater part of which lies near the skin; it passes into the water during boiling of potatoes, and escapes with the steam from a baked potato.
Potatoes are best in the fall, and keep well through the winter. By spring the starch is partially changed to dextrin, giving the potatoes a sweetness, and when cooked a waxiness. The same change takes place when potatoes are frozen. To prevent freezing, keep a pail of cold water standing near them.
Potatoes keep best in a cool dry cellar, in barrels or piled in a bin. When sprouts appear they should be removed; receiving their nourishment from the starch, they deteriorate the potato.
New potatoes may be compared to unripe fruit, the starch grains not having reached maturity; therefore they should not be given to children or invalids.