The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family (also known as the nightshades). The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species. Potatoes are the world's fourth largest food crop, following rice, wheat, and maize. Long-term storage of potatoes requires specialised care in cold warehouses and such warehouses are among the oldest and largest storage facilities for perishable goods in the world.
Wild potato species occur from the United States to Uruguay and Chile. Genetic testing of the wide variety of cultivars and wild species suggest that the potato has a single origin in the area of southern Peru, from a species in the Solanum brevicaule complex. Although Peru is essentially the birthplace of the potato, today over 99% of all cultivated potatoes worldwide are descendants of a subspecies indigenous to south-central Chile. Based on historical records, local agriculturalists, and DNA analyses, the most widely cultivated variety worldwide, Solanum tuberosum ssp. tuberosum, is believed to be indigenous to the Chiloe Archipelago where it was cultivated as long as 10,000 years ago.
Onions are the indispensable vegetable, the strong (yet sweet) cornerstone of modern cooking, not just in our culture but around the world. Whether it's a soup, stew, stir-fry, salad or sauce, chances are the recipe includes onions or garlic (very likely both) or one of their relatives. These members of the Allium genus (part of the lily family) don't just add flavour, they add richness and complexity. The onion is an edible bulb. While it is a vegetable at heart, it also acts as a spice inasmuch as it can provide an aromatic undertone to various meat and vegetable dishes, without being a major ingredient. The characteristic appearance of the onion is well known, but there are many variations of colour, shape and size. The colour varies from white to red to purple, the shape from spherical to almost conical, and the diameter at the largest point from 10mm (1/2in) to 8cm (3in) or more.
Garlic is an important cool season bulb crop that is widely used around the world for its pungent flavour, as a spice or condiment. The head of garlic comprising numerous discrete cloves is the edible part. Garlic is suitable for growing as a winter crop in the high ranges of Kerala.