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Potatoes are always a surprise!

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More potatoes are produced than other vegetables in Iceland. The harvest over the past five years has been in the range of 6 to 9 thousand tons. It would be possible to increase potato production in Iceland significantly and it would be a good contribution to increased food security as it is possible to store potatoes for a long time.

The popularity of potatoes has declined somewhat in recent years, not least among the younger generation. The healthy image of potatoes may not have been as strong as for the colorful vegetables. Tomatoes, broccoli, red peppers and other vegetables are well known to contain vitamins and other nutrients such as antioxidants. At Matís, measurements have been made of antioxidants and antioxidant activity in vegetables, including potatoes.

Surprisingly, more antioxidants were found in potatoes than in various colorful vegetables.

The project Improved quality, shelf life and less waste in the value chain of Icelandic vegetables was carried out at Matís in 2021 with a grant from the Food Fund. Chemical measurements of potatoes revealed that their carbohydrate content was often lower than for foreign potatoes. Bændablaðið 12 May 2022 discusses potatoes from farmers in Þórustaðir in Eyjafjörður, but potatoes from them were for research in the project. Some potato varieties had a much lower carbohydrate content than is common abroad. Low carbohydrate content also means that the calories are lower than in more carbohydrate-rich potatoes.

Most potato varieties provide fewer calories than cooked pasta and the potatoes have the antioxidants and vitamins in addition to the pasta.

The Office of the Medical Director of Health recommends that people eat five servings of vegetables and fruit a day. Potatoes are excluded in these portions, but perhaps there is a reason to change that. You can read about the results of the project in Matís' report Improved quality, shelf life and less waste in the value chain of Icelandic vegetables - Matís (matis.is)

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