Here are 13 facts you may not have known about Potatoes:
- The potato originated in the Andes of Bolivia and Peru. Peru’s Inca Indians first cultivated the potato in about 200 B.C. In 1537, that the Spanish conquistadors discovered the potato. From there it traveled to Europe, then back to the United States. Potatoes had many uses to the Incas. Raw slices were placed on broken bones, carried to prevent rheumatism, and eaten with other foods to prevent indigestion. The ancient Inca Indians valued the potato not only as a food, but as a measure of time. Units of time were correlated to how long it took a potato to cook.
- The Irish are perhaps best known for their love of potatoes. At one time Ireland was so dependent upon potatoes that when the potato crops were destroyed by blight in 1845 and 1846, over one million people died and another million left Ireland to find food.
- Americans consume about 140 pounds of potatoes per person, the Europeans have us beat; they consume twice as many spuds!
- The potato chip was invented in 1853 and has been America’s number one snack food for more than 50 years. In two hours, a factory can make 7,000 pounds of potato chips.The greatest number of U.S. barrels picked in a 9 and ½ hour day is 235 by Walter Sirois (B. 1917) of Caribou, Maine on September 30, 1950.
- While ambassador to France, Benjamin Franklin attended a banquet where the fare was nothing but potatoes, prepared in 20 different ways.
- Thomas Jefferson gets the credit for introducing French fries to America when he served them at a White House dinner.
- According to legend, General Washington’s cook kept the troops satisfied during the cold winter at Valley Forge with a hearty soup, Philadelphia Pepper Pot. The ingredients: tripe fatback, pepper and of course, potatoes (sounds good!)
- Sir Walter Raleigh was given 40,000 acres of land in Ireland by Queen Elizabeth to grow potatoes and tobacco. That’s how the Irish were introduced to potatoes, who then made them so famous that, even today, potatoes are often referred to as Irish potatoes.
- Vincent Van Gogh painted four still-life canvases devoted entirely to the potato.
- Potatoes are the world’s 4th food staple . . .after wheat, corn and rice.
- Mr. Potato Head was born in 1952 and was introduced to Mrs. Potato Head in 1953. According to Playskool, Inc., the two honeymooned in Boise, Idaho and have 12 children. In 1987, Mr. Potato Head gave up his pipe to set a good example for children.
- In 1952, a chipper tossed several bags of potato chips over Niagara Falls. The bags were recovered unharmed and promptly eaten by spectators.
Potatoes give you 45 percent of the daily value for vitamin C, have more potassium than even bananas, spinach, or broccoli and give you 10 percent of the daily value of B6. They have trace amounts of thiamine, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, and zinc and all this for just 110 calories and no fat, sodium or cholesterol.
You say potato, we say tater, but who cares!! They are so good! I cannot think of a single way I do not like to eat a potato. Can you? What is your favorite potato recipe?
GET TO KNOW YOUR FOOD!