Potatoes: "Spuds in Space"


Welcome to the future. Interplanetary travel, computers to serve our every need, car-less societies, food grown in space—yes you read that right, food grown in space! Right now, NASA's scientist are experimenting with America's favorite vegetable—that lovable and on-so-versatile spud. Seems the potato's nutritional benefits and universal appeal have made it a prime candidate to be grown in space as fuel food for astronauts on long missions.

Spuds in Space?

Will astronauts soon become agrinauts, too? This possibility is not as far out as it may sound. In fact, potato plants were recent passengers on NASA's Columbia shuttle during its 16-day mission in October, 1995. In a controlled-atmosphere environment the plants actually grew edible tubers, making potatoes the first food to be grown in space!

Potatoes Fuel The Final Frontier

As well as being America's favorite vegetable and a nutritious food that astronauts can easily eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, potatoes and potato plants will be vital to providing oxygen and life support for astronauts who will eventually make long-term missions to Mars and the moon.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving—One potato

Fat—0 g
Cholesterol—0 g
Sodium—5 mg
Potassium—680 mg
Total Carbohydrate—27 g
Dietary Fiber—2 g
Sugars—3 g
Protein—3 g


Apollo Potato Pancakes

Crispy potato pancakes are truly our of this world! They're perfect as a main course or side dish served with apple sauce and sour cream, or present as part of an elegant brunch buffet.

  • 2 pounds (6 medium) potatoes, shredded into bowl of cold water
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Soak potatoes in the water 10 minutes; drain and squeeze dry in a kitchen towel. In large bowl combine all ingredients except oil; mix thoroughly. Pour oil into large skillet to a depth of 1/8 inch; place over medium heat. For each pancake, portion 1/2 cup potato mixture into pan; flatten slightly. Cook about 8 minutes until crispy and brown, turning once. Repeat with remaining potato mixture, adding oil to skillet, if needed. Serve with sour cream and apple sauce, if desired.

Makes 4 to 6 servings (12 pancakes)

Nutritional Information Per Serving

248 calories
9 g fat
0 mg cholesterol
564 mg sodium
37 g carbohydrate
3 g fiber
5 g protein


Mission Control Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes
  • 1-1/3 pounds (4 medium) potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup nonfat sour cream substitute
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup 1% milk
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)

In medium saucepan cook potatoes in 2 inches boiling water, covered, about 12 minutes until tender; drain thoroughly, then shake potatoes in pan over low heat 1 or 2 minutes to dry thoroughly. Mash potatoes with electric mixer, or potato masher. Mix in sour cream, green onions, milk and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper (Do not overbeat.) Stir gently over low heat just until heated thorough. Serve topped with cheese and cilantro.

Makes 4 servings

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

200 calories
3 g fat
8 mg cholesterol
82 mg sodium
35 carbohydrate
3 g fiber
10 g protein


Provided by The National Potato Promotion Board

This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified January 2007

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