A Few Fun Potato Facts
Most of us know the potato is technically a vegetable, but there are so many other fun potato facts you should learn about your favorite food. The potato can be traced back 4,000 years to the Peruvians in South America. That’s right, the Irish potato isn’t so Irish after all, at least not originally. Actually, many potato facts say that Europeans, including the Irish, didn’t accept the potato when it was first introduced in Europe in the 1500’s. Many Europeans claimed that potatoes carried a wide variety of diseases. They also didn’t accept the potato because it’s never mentioned in the Bible.
Although the potato never made it into the Bible, it’s been to outer space. One of the most fun items on our list of potato facts is that the potato was the first food ever to be grown in outer space. Astronauts took potato plants on space shuttle Columbia in 1995 to see if they could grow them in zero gravity. Thankfully for those who can’t live without real potatoes, the experiment was a success.
Another item on our list of fun potato facts is that they are green. Not green in color, but rather, environmentally friendly. Not only are they cheap to purchase, but they’re also very easy to grow. They don’t require a lot of fertilizer, and they don’t need to be babied as much as some other types of vegetables. Potatoes are also quite healthy, unless you only eat them in the form of French fries. However, baked potatoes are packed with nutrients, so feel free to enjoy them! There are only about 100 calories in an 8-ounce baked or boiled potato.
Did you know royalty even used to wear potatoes to make a fashion statement? The first time potatoes became popular in Europe was after Marie Antoinette wore potato blossoms. And she wasn’t the only one who thought wearing potato blossoms was fashionable. Even King Louis XVI got into the potato-wearing action.
Potatoes are one of the most important crops in the entire world. They fall at number four on the list of important crops, with only corn, wheat, and rice beating them out for importance. After dairy products, potatoes are the second most consumed food in all of the United States. In fact, the average American eats just under 140 pounds of potatoes every year. That means every American consumes almost 17 pounds of potato chips, over 50 pounds of fresh potatoes, two pounds of canned potatoes, 13 pounds of dehydrated potatoes, and about 55 pounds of frozen potatoes every single year.
Now for some other little tidbits of potato fun facts. Did you know the potato is actually about 80 percent water? Only 20 percent of it is actually a solid. Potatoes can also be quite large, with the world’s largest weighting in over 18 pounds. And large potatoes didn’t stop with just the vegetable itself. Pringles also made the world’s largest potato chip. It was produced in Tennessee in 1990, and it measures 23 inches across!