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Jacket Potato

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Baked potato is sometimes called a jacket potato in the United Kingdom. The baked potato has been popular in the UK for many years. In the mid-19th century, jacket potatoes were sold on the streets by hawkers during the autumn and winter months. In London, it was estimated that some 10 tons of baked potatoes were sold each day by this method. Common jacket potato fillings (or "toppings") in the United Kingdom include cheese & beans, tuna mayonnaise, chili con carne and chicken & bacon.

As part of the upsurge for more healthy fast food, the baked potato has again taken to the streets of the UK both in mobile units and restaurants.

Preparation


Prior to cooking, the potato should be scrubbed clean, washed and dried with eyes and surface blemishes removed, and possibly basted with oil or butter and/or salt. Pricking the potato with a fork or knife allows steam to escape during the cooking process. Potatoes cooked in a microwave without pricking the skin might explode due to built up internal pressure from unvented steam. It takes between one and two hours to bake a potato in a conventional oven. Microwaving takes from six to twelve minutes depending on oven power and potato size, but does not generally produce a crisp skin.

Some varieties of potato such as Russet and King Edward potato are more suitable for baking than others, due to both their size and consistency.

Wrapping the potato in aluminium foil before cooking in a standard oven will help to retain moisture, while leaving it unwrapped will create a crisp skin. When cooking over an open fire or in the coals of a barbecue it may require wrapping in foil to prevent burning of the skin. A potato buried directly in coals of a fire cooks very nicely, with a mostly burned and inedible skin. A baked potato is fully cooked when its internal temperature reaches 99 °C (210 °F).

Once a potato has been baked, some people discard the skin and eat only the softer and moister interior, while others enjoy the taste and texture of the crisp skin. From a nutrition standpoint, a large percentage of the vitamins, minerals, and trace elements in a potato are found within or immediately below the skin. Potatoes baked in their skins may lose between 20 to 40% of their Vitamin C content because heating in air is slow and vitamin inactivation can continue for a long time. Small potatoes bake more quickly than large ones and therefore retain more of their Vitamin C. Despite the popular misconception that potatoes are fattening, baked potatoes can be used as part of a healthy diet.

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References

Baked potato, www.wikipedia.org

How to cook the perfect jacket potato, www.guardian.co.uk

How to cook jacket potatoes, www.deliaonline.com