Potato Fun Facts - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Potato Fun Facts

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Most of us know the potato is technically a vegetable, but there are so many other fun potato facts you may not know.

  1. The potato can be traced back 4,000 years to the Peruvians in South America. 
  2. 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. The experiment was a success.
  3. Potatoes are also 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.
  4. Potatoes are also quite healthy, unless you only eat them in the form of French fries. However, baked potatoes are packed with nutrients. There are only about 100 calories in an 8-ounce baked or boiled potato.
  5. Royalty used to wear potatoes to make a fashion statement. The first time potatoes became popular in Europe was after Marie Antoinette wore potato blossoms.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Potatoes are actually about 80 percent water. Only 20 percent of it is actually a solid.
  9. The world's largest potato weighed in at over 18 pounds. 
  10. Potatoes will store for fairly long periods of time. It is best to keep them in a cool, dry, dark place. Boiling potatoes tend to have slightly less starch than baking potatoes and hold their shape better when boiled. These normally include reds and some yellows. Baking potatoes make the best mashed potatoes as well.
  11. New potatoes are not necessarily red potatoes, but simply immature potatoes.
  12. Raw potatoes are seldom eaten and have a slightly bitter taste.
  13. The potato is part of the nightshade family of plants and like its relative the tomato, does have some disagreeable qualities. One should never eat anything green from a potato. The leaves and stem are poisonous. Ingestion of these parts, especially in significant quantities, may require hospitalization.
  14. Potatoes should be stored in dark, but dry places. Light will cause the formation of solanine on the skin of the potato. Though not likely to cause serious harm, green skinned potatoes can taste bitter and may result in temporary digestive discomfort.
  15. The skin is where most of the vitamins reside. Skins should however be thoroughly washed to move any chemicals that have been sprayed on them. This is often done to prevent sprouting. Sprouts lessen the shelf life of potatoes by sucking out the nutrients in the potatoes.
  16. Potatoes are one of the most nutritious staple crops discovered by man. With milk in the diet, it can be a sustaining and healthful source of energy, vitamins, and minerals both in times of want and in times of plenty.

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