Potatoes originated in the Andean mountains of South America, were brought to Europe in the 16th century by Spanish explorers, and were most likely brought to North America in the 18th century by Irish immigrants.
The potato belongs to the nightshade family of plants including tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and tomatillos.
They have a mild taste and creamy or starchy texture, and help give a higher volume, soft texture and crispy outside finish to baked goods, as well as extend their shelf-life. They are a very good source of vitamin C, and a good source of vitamin B6, copper, potassium, manganese, and fibre.
Potatoes contain various phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity and work against free radicals in the body. Their phenolic content includes flavonoids which protect against cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems and certain cancers. Scientists have also discovered compounds called kukoamines (only found in one other plant so far, the gogi berry) which have been shown to lower blood pressure.