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Figure 1. Nutritional contribution of a medium-sized potato to the daily requirements of 2000-calorie diet. Source: National Potato Board, Denver, Colo.

and maize as the fourth most important crop and is the most widely grown vegetable in the world. The largest potato-producing countries in 1997 were China (46 million t), Russia (40 million t), Poland (25 million t), and the United States (20 million t) (6).

The per capita consumption of potatoes in the United States has increased from 46 kg in 1950 to 64 kg in 1997 (7). Approximately one-third of the United States crop is consumed in the fresh form while frozen products accounted for about 40% of the consumption (Fig. 2).

Nutritionally, potatoes are quite stable and are available year-round through modern storage and processing technology. Approximately 75% of the potatoes produced in the United States are stored for later consumption. Storage terms range from 2 to 11 months as required to match raw material supply with utilization. Because potatoes are highly perishable, potato storages must be designed and operated effectively and economically to limit losses in quality and quantity of the raw potatoes. Special storage environments are required to maintain potatoes for their intended end use (Table 1).

Potato varieties differ in their culinary characteristics. Potatoes with high dry matter (or specific gravity) are preferred for processing into frozen French fries, potato chips and dehydration, and as mealy, dry-textured baked potatoes. Potatoes used in potato salads or in canned products,

Starch/flour □ Dehydrated Canned ES] Frozen & french fries
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