Is a potato a vegetable?

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The answer is yes. A potato is botanically classified as a vegetable. The humble potato is an enlarged tuber, which is a thickened part of the stem located underground. The tuber provides a food reserve from which new potato plant buds arise. – unless they are dug up and eaten of course!

A fruit, botanically speaking, is a the seed-bearing growth that develops after a plant flowers.

The truth is that much of a plant is considered a vegetable. This includes the leaves, stem, root and tubers.

Now we know potatoes are a vegetable, are potatoes good for you?

When asking if a potato is a vegetable most people are wondering if they are a healthy food to eat as part of a balanced diet. White potatoes provide a high content of starch. Starchy foods are our main source of carbohydrate and are an important part of a healthy diet. Carbohydrates are one of the main way the human body obtains energy.

Potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 and fiber. Because potatoes are not a citrus fruit we don’t often think of them containing vitamin C. In fact we can get a lot of our recommended vitamin C intake from eating potatoes due to the quantity we consume. How potatoes are prepared greatly effects their nutritional value. They are a healthy choice when baked, boiled, roasted with a little oil or mashed. They can become an unhealthy part of your diet if you add salt or use more than a little oil when cooking. If you leave the skin on when cooking, perhaps by baking or roasting rather than peeling or mashing the potato will retain more of its fiber and vitamin content.

It is important not to eat damaged, green or sprouting parts of the potato. These can contain toxins that can be harmful.

Are sweet potatoes a vegetable?

Yes, much like white potatoes, sweet potatoes are the tuberous roots of a sweet potato plant. While sharing many of the same characteristics including their name, sweet potatoes are not in fact part of the potato family. They are related to the flowering plants called Convolvulous and are a flowering vine.

Sweet potato fries - are they good for you?
Sweet potato fries

Are sweet potatoes good for you?

Sweet potatoes have a distinctive taste with beautifully copper coloured skins and orange flesh. They taste sweeter and generally moister than white potatoes. They have a high nutritional value in comparison to sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes have a high fiber content and contain a wider range of vitamins including an antioxidant called beta-carotene, which is absorbed as vitamin A when eaten, vitamin C and iron.

The nutritional value of the sweet potato provides many health benefits. Due to this they are often served as a vegetable as well as a popular side dish. They can be served boiled, roasted or fried.

When stored correctly in a cool, dry place, sweet potatoes have a long shelf life of two to three months.

Other vegetable and potato articles

You can read more about potatoes by visiting our How to Grow Potatoes summary page. Our How to Grow section contains tips and information on how to grow your own fruit and vegetables.

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