Potatoes contain carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals

Potato (Solanum Tuberosum) occupies a prominent position in the world's food economy. As a fresh vegetable, potatoes are consumed in a great variety of ways boiled, steamed, curried, baked or roasted. They are also processed into many products such as chips, flour, French fries and canned.Solanum tuberosum is a herbacecious perennial. The aerial part of the stem is erect in the early stages of growth, but later spreads around. Except for the nodes the aerial stem is hollow. The underground portion of the stem is more or less rounded and solid; sending forth horizontal branches. The first few leaves developing from the stem piece are usually simple but subsequent ones are compound and pinnate. The tuber is the short, generally enlarged portion of the stolon full of stored food, bearing `eyes' in the axils with smooth skin yellow in colour.

Stored food

The potato is one of the cheapest sources of starchy food. It contains carbohydrates, Vitamins C and minerals especially potassium, phosphorous, iron and magnesium. Potato can be grown in pots - by cutting pieces with the `eyes' and planting them in loose humus with compost and sand. The light green leaves of potato vine make it a decorative plant on the balconies. But they are poisonous. Keep away from children. CHITRA RADHAKRISHNAN

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