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You Say Po-tay-to and I Say Po-tah-to, but No Matter What, There's Starch in Those Taters!

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Areas of Science
Time Required
Short (2-5 days)
Material Availability
Readily available
Very Low (under $20)
Minor injury possible. Be careful using a knife. Adult supervision is required when using a knife.
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French fries, hash browns, mashed potatoes with gravy, potato latkes, there are so many things to make with the humble potato. The potato is a tuber from the perennial plant Solanum Tuberosum of the Solanaceae family. There are actually about 5,000 varieties of potatoes, but most of them can be traced back to the original potato from southern Peru. This single ancestor originated more than 10,000 years ago. In addition to being high in vitamins and minerals, potatoes have a varying amount of starch. Starch is the source of stored energy that a plant uses to feed itself. In this cooking and food science fair project, investigate the starch content of different varieties of potatoes. An easy way to determine the starch amount in a potato is to cut the potato into two pieces, rub them together, pull them apart, and then put the two pieces back together again. Is there a difference in how the different potatoes stick together? Do you notice foam, and if so, do different varieties make different foam? Is there a difference in the stickiness of the foam? Once you have determined starch content, look into how starch content affects boiling the potatoes. Are all of the potatoes fluffy after boiling, or are they waxy? What is the texture of the different potatoes after boiling?

Six raw potatoesImage Credit: Wikipedia / Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (photo by Matti Paavonen)

Figure 1. Potatoes are a humble, but tasty, vegetable.


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MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "You Say Po-tay-to and I Say Po-tah-to, but No Matter What, There's Starch in Those Taters!" Science Buddies, 28 Jan. 2022, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/FoodSci_p032/cooking-food-science/starch-in-potatoes. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2022, January 28). You Say Po-tay-to and I Say Po-tah-to, but No Matter What, There's Starch in Those Taters! Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/FoodSci_p032/cooking-food-science/starch-in-potatoes

Last edit date: 2022-01-28
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