No matter where in the world you live, you’ve probably had a potato. The vegetable is a part of nearly every diet and is the fourth most important crop worldwide. But this wasn’t always the case. Potatoes were originally grown by the Incas in South America between 8000 and 5000 B.C. The crop was then introduced to Europeans in the 1500s, and has since spread worldwide. Whether you’re enjoying this vegetable as a snack or the main course, check out these yummy facts.
- August 19 is National Potato Day.
- The word “potato” comes from the Spanish word “patata”. Potatoes have also been nicknamed “spuds”.
- There are thousands of varieties of potato.
- The vitelotte noire is a blue-violet variety grown in France.
- The crop is a part of the nightshade family and is only loosely related to sweet potatoes.
- The veggie is best stored in a cool, dry place.
- Potatoes can be prepared and served in many ways including baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, hash browns, fries, chips, and more.
- Billions of bags of chips are consumed around the world each year. It is one of the more common snack foods.
- The crop is grown in 125 countries in the world.
- China leads potato production. Other large producers are Russia, India, Ukraine, the United States, Germany, and Poland.
- The United States was the last major country to add potatoes to its diet.
- While grown in all 50 states, Idaho and Washington are the largest producers in the United States.
More Surprising Facts about Spuds
- Potatoes were the first vegetable grown in space. Astronauts grew the crop in 1995 and again in 2004.
- The heaviest potato weighed 10 pounds and 14 ounces. It was grown by Peter Glazebrook in the United Kingdom in 2011.
- Thomas Jefferson introduced French fries to America when he served them at a White House dinner.
- Idaho, the Potato State, has its own museum dedicated to the crop.
- The largest potato chip was produced by Pringle’s in 1990. It is now on display at the potato museum in Idaho.