Ethiopian potato is considered Ethiopia’s secondary crop with an annual per capita consumption of only 5 kilogram. In Ethiopia, potatoes are grown under varied climatic conditions and it is mainly a crop for small farmers. However, among all the countries in Africa, Ethiopia has probably the maximum potential to grow potatoes on a large scale. 70% of Ethiopian agricultural land, mainly located in highlands, is appropriate for the production of potato and the crop could play a vital role in making sure the food security of nation.
History of Ethiopian Potato
Legend states that in 1858 a German immigrant had introduced the potatoes in Ethiopia. The cultivation of the potatoes in the country was limited to only colder regions in the highlands until the end of the 19th century when a huge production of potatoes was adopted after a prolonged Ethiopian famine.
From the starting of 20th century, the Ethiopian potato crop has seen a considerable increase in the growth and at present 160,000 hectares of land is being used for the production of potato in Ethiopia.
Culinary Uses of Ethiopian Potato
Like other potatoes, Ethiopian potatoes are widely used for culinary purposes. Salads, curry dishes, dry dishes and even soups are prepared with these potatoes. Potato chips and fingers are the most popular fast foods prepared with all kinds of potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are also widely grown in Ethiopia that is included in varied dishes like salads and soups. Even mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes are extensively used in making potato pies, baked dishes and for stuffing purposes.
Ethiopians are also fond of eating ‘sambusa’, similar to Indian ‘samosa’, stuffed with spicy potato filling.
Methods of Using Ethiopian Potato
- Frying – This method best preserves the water-soluble vitamin present in the potato, though frying increases the calories in potato. Potato chips and French fries are most commonly made with this method.
- Baking – This is the best method adopted for making potato dishes, as it requires less fat and retains the essential nutrients in the potato.
- Boiling – This method is a beneficial method of cooking in retain the nutritional worth or potatoes. However, boiled mashed potatoes contain the least amount of vitamin C.
- Slicing – This method is adopted for making chips and fries. Potatoes can be either sliced with skin or without skin, but skin is potato’s best source of fiber and nutrients.
Nutritional Facts Related to Ethiopian Potato
Potato is a rich source of vitamin C and potassium. It contains starch and lots of dietary fiber. Potatoes are a high-carbohydrate food that also contains protein. Generally, potatoes are considered fattening, but it is the fat in which they are cooked.
Green colored patches and sprouts on the potato may make the potato poisonous, therefore such potatoes should be avoided.