Talk:Potato/Archive 2

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Chef Spudnik?

Someone has inserted two references to "Spudnik". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 15:37, 1 December 2006

Fourth largest crop?

The article states that potato is the "fourth largest crop in terms of fresh produce". The same is stated under the Banana article ("bananas rank fourth after rice, wheat and maize"). What is correct?

--User:kjellesvig 01:15, 22 December 2006 (GMT +1)

The potato is the fourth of the major food crops of the world, following rice, wheat and maize. There might be more bananas than potatoes in volume although I doubt that. Bananas are a fruit, whereas the potato is both a staple and a vegetable. Rice, wheat and maize (or corn for Americans) are all staples. However, and this is where this issue becomes interesting or even contradictory, in many parts of Africa, the banana is also a staple. PeterSchmiediche 12:29, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
The potato is the world's 4th food crop , but what is the 1st, 2nd and 3rd? I know they are rice, maize and wheat, but is the 1st food crop maize or wheat or rice? -- AACCBB (talk) 09:32, 25 January 2008 (UTC)


Any chance of a listing of potato varieties - such as is included in the article for apples? (Some very strange spuds are appearing in my supermarket.) Mfgreen 04:07, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Much like apples, potatoes have an abundance of varieties, but they are mainly categorized into a few main groups: Russets, Reds, Whites, Yellows (Sometimes called Yukons). Some varieties of Potatoes are specialized in that their starch/sugar content (an index referred to as 'gravity') may be more suitable for frying, chipping, or the fresh market. Although various, some common russet varieties in the U.S. are: Russet Burbank, Russet Norkotah & ranger. Some common red varieties are: Red Norland, Red Sangre, Calred & Lasoda. Although not as numerous, there are several yellow and white varieties. Some would consider 'chipping potatoes' a variety of their own, some of these being: Atlantic, Norchip & Willamette.
Nearly all of the above referenced varieties have their own sub-groups that are either already developed or are in the process of being developed. Some varieties are popular with the fresh market because of taste or looks, others are popular for processing because of their particular starch/sugar make-up. Most newer varieties also combine the desired traits with other benefits, such as resistance to pests or disease. I thought the article was good from a historical perspective, but overly emphasized the negative. Potatoes are incredibly nutritious and would be a welcome alternative for today's busy lifestyle.
Mxwl99 05:49, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
The following are all commercialized in Europe:
  • Bintje,
  • Cara,
  • Charlotte,
  • Desiree,
  • Estima,
  • Hermes,
  • King Edward,
  • Maris Peer,
  • Maris Piper,
  • Marfona,
  • Nadine,
  • Nicola,
  • Pentland,
  • Russet Burbank,
  • Rosetta,
  • Sante,
  • Saturna,
  • Saxon,
  • Shepody,
  • Wilja
  • Franceline,
  • Mona Lisa,
  • Ty Bodaveri;
Variety is critical depending on the market a farmer is aiming at. Specific varieties are grown for different sorts of processing, crisping, chipping (i.e. making into french fries) etc. Useful information is available at "".
Maccheek 10:07, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
There are about five thousand potato varieties world wide, three thousand of them are found in the Andes alone, mainly in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia. They belong to eight or nine species, depending on your taxonomic school. Apart from the five thousand cultivated varieties, there are about 200 wild species, many of which can be cross-bred with cultivated species, which has been done repeatedly to transfer resistances to certain pests and diseases from the genepool of wild to the genepool of cultivated potato species. The list of varieties found in European, North American or Asian markets is very short, and these varieties are all of the same species, Solanum tuberosum ssp. tuberosum. PeterSchmiediche 13:58, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

Contradictory Sentence

Dr. Douglas L. Holt, the State Extension Specialist for Food Safety at the University of Missouri - Columbia, notes that no reported cases of potato-source solanine poisoning have occurred in the U.S. in the last 50 years and most cases involved eating green potatoes or drinking potato-leaf tea.

Make up your mind. - MSTCrow 00:39, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Makes perfect sense to me. No cases in the last 50 years and most of the cases (ones over 50 years ago) involved green potatoes or leaf teas. Involved... past tense. --Crimson30 16:43, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
There was a case of fatal solanine poisoning in Ireland in the early twenties of the last century. In an exceptionally dry summer, potatoes had grown under extreme stress, and many tubers contained high amounts of solanine. Normally, a tuber that contains very high amounts of solanine is green if it was exposed to light because certain wave lengths of light cause the synthesis not only of chlorophyll but also of glycoalkaloids. However, it appears that extreme stress will also support the synthesis of glycoalkaloids. So far, this has not been conclusively proven. PeterSchmiediche 12:40, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Cooking away toxins/solanine...

This sentence is a bit vague: "Cooking at high temperatures (over 170 °C or 340 °F) partly destroys these." I found a reference here that states: "Solanine is not destroyed in the cooking process." and thought maybe some consolidation of the two statements might be in order. Also, the wiki page on solanine mentions that boiling will not reduce levels of solanine. --Crimson30 16:52, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Boiling will not reduce levels of glycoalkaloids, of which solanine is only one. Dehydration, however, will. User:PeterSchmiediche 12:14, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Most potatoes eaten in 24 hours

I deleted this trivia comment, because I can't find any other reference to it anywhere on the internet, and in particular on the Guiness book of records website. If anyone has a reference to it they can add it back in. Mrjeff 19:36, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Potato ranking

Not sure what is meant by "4th largest crop in terms of fresh produce". Does this mean all agricultural products (or possibly all agricultural food products), and the term "fresh produce" used to distinguish this ranking from its aforementioned ranking as world's top tuber? "Fresh produce" is confusing as this often means fruits and vegetables, and I guess grains, harvested in a living state that have not been processed or preserved. The statement about the potato's ranking being "inflated" -- is that because the ranking is weight-based, and the point of the author is that it would rank lower on a ranking based on nutritive or caloric value due to its high water content? If so, it should state, else the inflated comment should be deleted. There's no citation for the ranking statistic, so the criteria for this ranking cannot be referenced. jchristopher 08:11, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

'low-growing habit'

From the second section: 'potatoes have a low-growing habit'. I think I know what this means, but I'd like to be sure. Whoever knows what it means, please expand/rephrase. Vranak 00:43, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

"low-growing habit" refers to the growth habit of the potato, which, depending on variety and species, is normally very low (around 30 to 40 cm in height), some specially bred varieties may even have a kind of rosette habit. However, under some growing conditions potatoes can grow 60 even 75 cm high. PeterSchmiediche 12:14, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Overall Structure

This does seem to need a major re-organisation. It is currently all over the place. A good overall structure might be

  • plant description and origin
  • historical spread and economics
  • cultural significance
  • cultivation
  • cooking recipes etc etc

See the entry for patata in spanish wikipedia for an example of how it might be done

The new section on economics and History of the introduction of the potato into places outside south america would be a better structure than the odds and ends eg irish section, and would give a wider context. As an aside, I saw a programme on the history channel a while back that made some very interesting comments about the place of the potato in European economic history and climate change. basically they argued that northern europe used to be a good place to grow grain (early middle ages) and the staple carbohydrate was bread. Gradually the climate changed getting colder over the middle ages early modern period, meaning that the wheat crop failed more often. Fortunately the potato showed up from south america just as this was getting to be a problem. It was rapidly adopted - except in France where the catholic peasantry rejected it given the Bible talks about bread being the staff of life. That meant the economies of most northern european countries were able to continue. But in France, the peasantry starved, ultimately causing the French revolution. The Irish experience fits neatly into that context then. As may other countries'stories. The introduction and history in Poland and Russia are likely to be very interesting too. Unfortunately I do not have the reference material to write this up, but what is the general view? Nzattitude 17:53, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Irish blame

Unfortunately the local population had begun to rely on the potato and in the following years when crops failed, many died. Others emigrated, largely to the USA, blaming the British government for the situation.

This is a point of continuing controversy in Ireland but this makes it sound so random: the Irish got hungry decided to move and arbitrarily blame the British. I think it should either be expanded or removed. Temp —Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:{{{2}}}|{{{2}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{2}}}|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/{{{2}}}|contribs]]) 10:01, 11 May 2007

The term "Irish Potato" came into use because of the Irish potato famine, which started in 1846 and lasted for six years. The Irish peasant population had become highly dependent on the potato because of the relatively large amount of food that could be produced on small holdings. Immigrant farmers from the Palatinate region of Germany brought their own crops, such as turnips, to Western Ireland and were a lot less dependent on the potato then their native Irish neighbors, and they were largely spared the effects of the potato famine. The disease killing the Irish potato crop was the late blight fungus. The long lasting after effects of this famine are well known and well documented. What is less well known is the role of the British during the potato famine. Rich aristocratic British landowners continued to export grain from Ireland to other parts of the world even as tens of thousands of Irishmen, women and children were starving to death. Fortunately, this was not the practice of all of them, there were some British owned estates, where not one Irish peasant starved to death. Authors like Salaman have written in detail about that situation, which has also been recognized by contemporary British historians. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 09:04, 28 May 2007

Removed sentence

[1] If "4 to 9 good potatoes" would suffice to be seriously sick, why are there no reported cases in the last 50 years? ("Dr. Douglas L. Holt, the State Extension Specialist for Food Safety at the University of Missouri - Columbia, notes that no reported cases of potato-source solanine poisoning have occurred in the U.S. in the last 50 years and most cases involved eating green potatoes or drinking potato-leaf tea." -- from the article). Fred-Chess 20:28, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

The data in that section does seem somewhat contradictory. If 12.5mg were the safe limit, then @ 200mg/kg solanine you would only need to eat 60g of potatoes to be poisoned! However it seems from solanine that the fatal dose is typically around 10-20 times this; but this still leaves a 1 kg limit which is inconsistent with the rarity of poisoning. I have done some digging and found that the actual content varies and may be as much as 25 times lower than the limit. Moreover, since it is mainly in the skin, you could avoid 90% of it by peeling the potatoes. On average, it would seem the toxic limit is likely to be around 2 kg unpeeled or 20 kg peeled potatoes. Samatarou 20:18, 20 July 2007 (UTC)


In the third point in the trivia subsection one could add that a potato is sometimes called γεώμηλο in Greek, which also means the apple of the earth. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 13:22, 22 May 2007

Also "pomme de terre" in French, which means the same thing. If it occurs in several languages, is it even notable? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:18, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Purple potato

I just ate purple potatoes that I bought from the supermarket. They're bloody PURPLE. Anybody know anything about them? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 13:19, 27 June 2007

Potatoes with purple or red flesh are found in the Andes of Peru and neighboring Andean countries. They are not very common but also not rare. Some of the Andean red or purple fleshed varieties have made it to Europe and other parts of the world where they are cultivated as a curiosity. The red or purple color is caused by a concentration of anthocyanin, which is also produced in flowers and stems. Anthocyanins are not toxic, but do not add much to the taste of the purple potato either. PeterSchmiediche 08:23, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Non Functional Links

Four links in the references section of the potato page are not working. These links are:

  1. Munsters
  2. Ronniger's Potato Farm
  3. Organic Facts:
  4. Another link has been pasted in this link

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 17:43, 27 June 2007

How does one correct them? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 03:04, 29 July 2007


I noticed that articles about potato in other languages often have history of potato in country of that language (for example, Serbia, Russia or Belarus), so I'd like to merge it into this article. Any suggestions? Nikola 12:14, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

there is no reference to parmentier who promoted potatoes in france and europe to fight famine. it's an important person in the history. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 18:51:17, August 19, 2007 (UTC)

It's over nine thousand

From the article's "Regional Dishes" section:

Peruvian Cuisine naturally contains the potato as a primary ingredient in many dishes, as over 9,000 varieties[citation needed] of this tuber are grown there. Some of the more famous dishes include Papa a la huancaina, Papa rellena, Ocopa, Carapulcra, Causa and Cau Cau among many others.

And from the "Origin and history" section:

There are about five thousand potato varieties world wide. Three thousand of them are found in the Andes alone, mainly in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia. They belong to eight or nine species, depending on the taxonomic school.

There seems to be a slight contradiction, there. I wonder what Vegeta would have to say about this. kenohki 20:19, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

I changed this yesterday to 3000 in Peru, supported by a cite. There's also another reference I found though which talks of "over 100 varieties" per valley and which suggests the total number of Peruvian varieties is not really known and has probably been underestimated. (I've added the "hundred per valley" mention (and cite) to the bit at the start of the article to give some substance to the reference to a "remarkable diversity" of varieties being grown in Peru.) Samatarou 16:47, 21 July 2007 (UTC)
The International Potato Center in Peru (it's Spanish acronym is CIP) holds the World Collection of potato germplasm, and there are indeed about 3000 varieties of Peruvian potatoes, the exact number is naturally not known, but 3000 must be pretty close to the true number because Peruvian and other explorers, such as the legendary Peruvian botanist Carlos Ochoa or the equally famous Englishmen Jack Hawkes, but also collectors from other countries, notably Russia, Germany or Denmark, have really searched every nook and cranny of the Andes. A good place to start searching is still the local market of any given region. There are about 5000 varieties world wide, which can be verified in official registers, however, not everywhere do such registers exist. PeterSchmiediche 03:51, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Weird paragraph

Any one else think this better left to the Irish Potato Famine page?

What is less well known is the role of the British during the potato famine. Rich aristocratic British landowners continued to export grain from Ireland to other parts of the world even as tens of thousands of Irish men, women and children were starving to death. Fortunately, this was not the practice of all of them, there were some British owned estates where not one Irish peasant starved during the famine. Authors like Salaman have written in detail about that situation, which has also been recognized by contemporary British historians.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:19, August 25, 2007 (UTC)

It's not clear what exactly was the distinction between British and Irish landowners. How long did a family need to live in Ireland to qualify as Irish? What about irish landowners who actually lived in London? The truth is that some wealthy landowners of undoubted Irish background let their tenants starve. Food exports continued precisely because rents were often paid in kind, usually in the form of high-value grain, meat and dairy products. The British government did little or nothing to help at first, and it was not really an expectation of the time that governments should actually get involved in anything so mundane as whether their subjects had anything to eat. Later, there were maize imports from America to help bridge the gap. All of these seem like issues best left for a page on the Famine. Blight as a biological fact obviously has a place here, though.Sjwells53 18:00, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
I have removed it because 1) it has nothing to do with potatoes (it discusses export of grain) 2) It has no citations. 3) It uses weasel words ("British historians"). Captain Nemo III 06:24, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Another important point about other references to the famine on this page is that they seem to imply it was largely confined to Ireland. Its impact was certainly worst there, because Ireland had the largest concentration of peasants living close to subsistence level. However, the blight affected the whole of Western Europe and beyond, and its effects were serious anywhere the population was poor. There was hunger in France and England too, and there was a great deal of distress in Scotland, especially the islands, where conditions were not very different from Ireland. There is a lot of documentary and pictorial evidence of this in, for example, the parish museum at Iona, from which a large proportion of the population emigrated during the famine. Historians often refer to the "Hungry Forties" for this period of British history, and the potato blight must have played some part in setting off the wave of popular discontent that led to the "year of Revolutions" (1848) across Europe. Sjwells53 (talk) 16:19, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Potatoes (varieties) navbox

This does not seem to be very useful. It's only a small subset of the 1,000's of varieties with no clear selection based on importance. Papalisa isn't a potato. Almond potato is a direct translation whereas it should be just called Mandel as in the original Swedish--JBellis 21:50, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Agree - given the large number a List on a separate page would be the best bet. No-one is editing this page in a concerted fashion though I did intend to in the future at some stage. It'd be worth looking at the template to see who authored it and drop them a note. I may get round to it in a month or so. cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 22:53, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
The navbox was added by anon user with the comment Added navbox for varieties. Is a bit rough and ready, but useful. but it doesn't seem to have worked as it was blank and was fixed to show titles much later. I'm proposing to get rid of it soon rather than later.--JBellis 19:04, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 22:53, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

New section

Someone please add a popular culture section, with the following entry:

knödel eaten in Bavaria

Bavaria is not Germany! The most eaten Knödel in Bavaria is made with old bread, not potatoes. Correct would be that they're eaten in Thuringia, where the famous "Thüringer Klößen" comes from. Both Bavaria and Thuringia are only parts of Germany and not necesarily representative. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:04, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Edit according to...

I think this potato article can be further improved by using the International Year of the Potato website: , as a reference, but do state this source/reference. I find the website very informative, and I think it can solve many qns. AACCBB (talk) 09:25, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Tater Tots/Hash Browns

It seems unnecessary to specify a type of hash browns. Better to use the general term. Besides, without a reference to substantiate it, how do we know that Tater Tots are more prevalent? That's not my experience. Tmangray (talk) 16:03, 2 February 2008 (UTC)


there should be a link to the word tuber —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 16:22, 21 March 2008


The section about Hebrew is misleading. It is called תפוח אדמה, but the statement in brackets is incorrect and should be removed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:02, 27 March 2008 (UTC)


I'm surprised that the article did not mention the wide variety of potato types available, of both traditional and modern breeds. I got the impression from it that most potato varieties are North American, as even the listing seemed to support that impression. In fact, according to The European Cultivated Potato Database, Germany has 941 of its own potato varieties, The Netherlands has 647, the UK has 427 home-grown breeds whilst the USA has 210. (Lambrettaguy2008 (talk) 08:07, 30 March 2008 (UTC))

99% Claim

I've been repeatedly reading this in the article: "Today, over 99% of all cultivated potato varieties worldwide are descendants of the Chilean subspecies." Yet, when I go read the links, they don't even mention percentages. Hence, if this is not factual information, please do not include it in the article.--MarshalN20 (talk) 23:03, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

Per WP:PROVEIT, feel free to remove it (though you might be better trying to find another source on google first). WLU (talk) 23:08, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
Some body hve changed it from 99% as it says in Using DNA, scientists hunt for the roots of the modern potato to 299%. I will put the information back. Dentren | Talk 22:42, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

Date of Introduction to Europe

The article says "The potato was introduced to Europe around 1570," but if you look at the article in the citation for that sentence ( at ), the date is given as "probably in the 1570s". I can't correct as the page is semi-protected and I am a brand new user. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dwsnyder00 (talkcontribs) 02:00, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

More than just that, the introductory paragraph says "around 1700", and then in the paragraph you mention, "1570s". That's too great of an error. I'd go ahead and change it, but I've no clue which one to chose and I doubt averaging the two dates would be amusing to anyone except demented programmers like myself. (talk) 18:34, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
The section "Origin and History" has some specifics. "Introduced to botanical literature" and "introduced to the table in some places" and "introduced to commerce" vary through several centuries. --Wetman (talk) 23:23, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
You have the revisionist British to thank for that "error". The British want to credit Sir Walter Raleigh with bringing the Potato over to Britian so they just ignore history and name him. Fact is the Potato was in Britian before Raleigh was even born so there is absolutely no chance he introduced it. But, this is normal behavior for British "Historians" so just leave it as is, they will just keep changing it back otherwise. It is something you have to accept about the British, they do not value education and once something becomes urban myth that works as "real history" for them. Did you know they also believe Sir Walter Raleigh brought the Potato and Tomato with him to the Americas and introduced it the Americans? Its true most British actually believe that. They also think he gave the Americas tobacco. Like I said, just accept it and move on. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:25, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
So, what's the accusation here? Brits change the date to 1700 because we think Raleigh introduced the potato to Britain? Unlikely, since Raleigh died in 1618. In fact, we are taught that he introduced the potato to England, but his dates are suited to the 1570s date. No, we're not taught that he "gave the Americas tobacco", we're taught that he brought it back from the Americas. Frankly, you're talking nonsense here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ianeiloart (talkcontribs) 21:02, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Finding the average of the two years! *sputter sputter* I for one find that funny.Joshywawa (talk) 08:33, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
I am wondering how the passage about Basque fishermen from Spain using the potato on their voyages in the 15th Century can be correct, if it wasn't introduced to Europe until the 16th Century? MisterSquirrel 02:30, 15 January 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by MisterSquirrel (talkcontribs)