22 Profound Facts About Potatoes

Potatoes are an essential part of cuisine around the world.

There are hundreds of ways to prepare potatoes, from street style to gourmet.

And who can forget our favorite chips? They come in various flavors that explode on your tongue and always leave you wanting more.

Whether you like to boil them, mash them, or cook them in some form of stew, potatoes are a genuinely fantastic food.

Even though this vegetable is ubiquitous, there are some things about it that not everyone knows.

Here some fun facts about potatoes for all ages to enjoy and learn from.


Potatoes are actually from South America.
The potato was actually domesticated from a wild plant in a region that includes the northwestern of Bolivia and the south of Peru.

People have been growing potatoes for at least 7,000 years!

The term "potato" has Spanish origins.
Did you know that the English term Potato that we so commonly use for these tubers has been derived from their Spanish name: patata? What's even more fascinating is that they're still called patata in many parts of Spain.

There are around 4,000 different types of potatoes!
About 80 of these are available in the United Kingdom, and over 200 types are found in the United States.

Potatoes belong to the same family as tobacco.
However, there's no reason for you to worry because the Nightshade family is quite diverse and contains many other vegetables you commonly eat, including tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.

Potatoes are grown on every continent except Antarctica and the Arctic circle!

Potatoes were the first vegetable to be grown in space!
In 1995, the astronauts in the Microgravity Astroculture Laboratory on the Space Shuttle Columbia grew five small potatoes while in orbit!

Potatoes don't float in regular water, but they do float in salt or sugar water.

Potatoes aren't truly vegetables or even root vegetables.
However, they are still called so as they come from a plant and are grown for their edible root, which botanically makes them vegetables.
Potatoes fall into a different category altogether, called tubers. Tubers are swollen, irregularly shaped plant parts or organs that store energy for the plant.

In fact, potatoes literally contain 0 grams of fat!
The paranoia around weight gain from potatoes stems from its carbohydrate and caloric content, which is admittedly high. One medium-sized potato contains 265 calories and 61 grams of carbs.

Potatoes have more Potassium than bananas!
A medium-sized potato contains 620 milligrams of potassium, which is more than a banana! Potatoes are also packed with antioxidants and Vitamins B6 and C, but you need to eat the skin for maximum nutrition retention.

Potatoes are the third-most important food crop, after rice and wheat.
More than a billion people eat potatoes around the world, and the worldwide production of this vegetable exceeds 300 million metric tons!

Different potatoes are good for different dishes.
The thing is that each variety of potatoes has a different amount of starch, among other things.
Potatoes with higher starch levels, such as the Russet, are defined as more floury and are better suited to being fried in the form of a french fry or hash brown or baked in the oven.
Lower starch levels in potatoes give them a waxy feel, which makes them much more suitable for eating whole in salads and stews.

Potato chips are America's second-favorite snack!
According to a survey conducted in 2021, potato chips are America's second favorite snack at 58% of the votes, while cookies take first place at 59%.

Potatoes are also used to make vodka!
While most vodkas are made from grain, some are made from potatoes. Potato vodka is said to have a smoother flavor than grain vodka.

Is It Safe To Eat Green Potatoes?
Yes, but with a few caveats. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends not eating the green part of potatoes, but you don't have to worry about tossing the entire thing.
If a potato has developed a few green spots, it's also a sign that it's begun to try and protect itself from hungry animals by producing a neurotoxin called solanine.
Small spots can be peeled or cut away, but you should probably just throw the potato out if there's any more than that.

In the right conditions, potatoes can be stored for up to a year!
For potatoes to live that long, they need to be stored at 39° F. But it's not as simple as it sounds. First, you'll need to dry them properly to eliminate any risk of rotting. Then, the temperature of their storage is gradually decreased over time.
And when it's time to get them out, you need to gradually bring their temperature back to room temperature.

National Potato Day is celebrated on August 19th every year to honor the humble but most versatile favorite food of people - Potatoes.

Potatoes are not related to sweet potatoes.
While potatoes are tubers, sweet potatoes are actually just the enlarged roots of the sweet potato plant.
They don't even come from the same family, with sweet potatoes belonging to Convolvulaceae, the same family as morning glory.
The only connection between the two vegetables is that they're starchy vegetables grown under the ground.

The Incas had a much closer relationship to potatoes and used them to treat various physical ailments.

Idaho is the largest potato-producing state in the United States
In the United States, Idaho has left Maine behind in potato production, with more than 5 million metric tons of potatoes grown yearly. This also means that Idaho provides about one-third of the United States' total potato production. For these reasons, the state has aptly been named the Potato State.

China is the largest potato-producing country in the world.
China contributes to about 22% of the global potato production on average; in 2019, about 94 million metric tons of potatoes were grown in China!

Also read: 100 Mind-Blowing Facts About Food

Britannica / Food Republic / PBS / The Kitchn / Wikipedia - Potato History / Wikipedia - Solanaceae