Food is not only a necessity for a human being, but it is a never-ending want. Every place has a staple food with every person having their taste and choices, but one of the food items found anywhere is potatoes.
They come in all forms and are favorite, be it carefree children, working adults, or knowledgeable senior citizens. Even though this vegetable is ubiquitous, there are some things about it that not everyone knows.
This article will cover some fun facts about potatoes for all ages to enjoy and learn from.
- Potatoes are the roots of Solanum tuberosum. It is also called spuds in some regions of the world. It is a significant crop that produces high yields of nutritionally valuable components.
- The appearance of a potato can be deceiving. Potatoes are 80% water and only 20% solid.
- There are many types of potatoes with over 100 kinds of edible!
- Potatoes are related to garden vegetables like tomatoes and eggplants while also are closely related to belladonna and jimsonweed, which are highly dangerous and poisonous, respectively. Thus, the vegetables’ leaves and flowers are not edible, and only the starchy roots are eaten. This is a not so common fun fact of the Potato.
- It is produced almost everywhere in the world but is native to the South American regions. It was first cultivated by the Inca Indians in Peru somewhere between 8000 BC to 5000 BC. It was familiar to the world when the Spanish Conquistadors conquered Peru in 1536 and introduced it to Europe. Sir Walter Raleigh presented potatoes to Ireland in 1589 inland near Cork that covered 40,000 acres, and after this, it took almost 40 years for it to spread in the rest of Europe. Imagine, for centuries, no one except for the natives of Peru knew about this popular vegetable’s existence!
- They are straightforward to grow as it takes significantly less space to grow a large quantity, and though it took a long time to be introduced to the world, it did not take long for it to replace grains as the staple food in Europe. Potato’s fun fact is that nearly ten people could be supplied with enough potatoes for every acre of land cultivated.
Antoine Augustine Parmenter played a massive part in popularizing the Potato. His influence in the world of food brought great guests like Benjamin Franklin to his famous dinners to try various fun dishes made only with potatoes.
- While in Europe, there was a drastic rise of potatoes in North America. Potato’s first permanent cultivation happened only in 1719 by the Scotch-Irish immigrants staying near Londonderry, NH.
- Another shocking and fun fact about potatoes is that Idaho, the present-day largest producer, did not start producing this root until 1836. The cultivation of the said vegetable began when missionaries moved west to try teaching the tribes the shill of agriculture. These tribes depended solely on hunting and gathering, so with the introduction of agriculture, and these tribes, too, were converted to the settled lifestyle. Thus, began the Idaho potato agriculture.
- Idaho also has a museum dedicated to potatoes! Potatoes do not only have a museum to honor them, but they also have a National Potato Day every August 19th and October 27th. United Nations had also announced that 2008 was the official year of the Potato.
- Earth was not enough. The Potato was the first vegetable to be grown in space. For feeding future space colonies and feeding astronauts on their long voyages into space, NASA and the University of Wisconsin created a technology that grew potatoes in space.
- With its cultivation in space and earth, a fun fact about potatoes is that it is the number 1 crop in America and 4th It is after rice, wheat, and maize. In western Asia, potatoes are eaten more per capita than any other place in the world!
- Even though Potatoes are now synonymous to carbohydrates, it is full of nutrients. They are a good source of Vitamin C and B6 and manganese, phosphorus, and pantothenic acid.
- Potatoes were once directly traded for Gold. Back in the 1890s, the Alaskan Klondike gold rush potato had very high value due to its high content of Vitamin C
- They have more potassium than a nutritious banana and contain only 110 calories per average-sized unit.
- Potato’s fun fact and its nutrients are that scientists have assured that one can live on potatoes. Potatoes, milk, and butter can provide the human body with all the needed nutrients if all three are included in one’s day.
- Even though potatoes have all these nutrients and are sufficient to base their lives on, it still has some health issues. The way potatoes are prepared very harmfully to the human body. Many times, potatoes are prepared using oils, butter, large amounts of salt and cream, and cheese. These food items contain high amounts of fat, are high carbohydrate food, and have a high glycemic index (GI). The index helps in knowing how certain high foods can increase one’s blood sugar. This does not affect people much, but if one has diabetic concerns, they should be conscious of this rate.
- As mentioned, this concerning health issue does not affect many people that can be understood by the fact that over a billion people eat at least one Potato in one day. The average American consumption is 140 pounds of potatoes every year, and the average German consumption 200 pounds every year.
- Apart from the edible part of the plant, potatoes were once very famous for their flowers used as decorations in the French Queen Marie Antoinette’s clothing. She had received a bouquet of potato flowers, which inspired her to use it in clothing.
- Along with being used in fashion, a fun fact about Potato is that it is featured in many art pieces also. For example- Van Gogh’s Potato Eaters and Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor.
- An excellent antioxidant and a very less known variety of Potato is the Chinese Truffle. It is named so because it is a unique blue-violet color.
- The vitelotte Noire is a gourmet potato variety from France.
- The world record for the largest Potato Is 10lb 14oz
- The first Mr. Potato Head (a famous potato-man-looking toy) was first manufactured in 1952 and was the first toy advertisement to be broadcasted on television.
- Contradictory to the popular belief, sweet Potato is a different species from Potato and shares its name and growing habits.
- In these times of environmental crisis where land pollution is caused mostly by fertilizers and pesticides, potatoes are one such kind of vegetable that does not require much of these damaging chemicals to grow. Loamy and well-drained soil is a crucial need for good quality cultivation of this vegetable. Potatoes grow when the temperature is 45 degrees Fahrenheit. They are usually planted in early spring.
- One of the most exciting and fun facts about potatoes is the origin of French Fries. The name is misleading because French Fries is not from France but Belgium. Potatoes are being fried in Belgium since the 1600s, and the reason it is called French Fries is that in World War, Belgian soldiers spoke French and the misunderstanding of the origin began.
Potatoes have many varieties and types, and each is having a distinctive way of cultivation and requirements for growth.
Potato types are starchy, waxy, and fingerling. Each of these types is used for different dishes and give different flavors.
For the very reason of variety and how it blends well with any other food item, potatoes are a beloved vegetable for all.
These were a few fun facts about this popular plant amongst much other interesting information.