Potato Facts
Potato Facts

37 Cultivated Potato Facts

Madeline Thatcher
By Madeline Thatcher, Associate Writer
Published April 29, 2019
  • The Incas, native to Peru, were the first to grow potatoes. They began cultivating them in 5000 BC.[7]
  • The Incas used potatoes for several things other than food, including healing broken bones, preventing indigestion, and measuring time based on how long a potato took to cook.[7]
  • Ancient communities that relied on the potato sometimes used the plant as a motif in their pottery and weaving designs.[2]
  • In 1536, Spanish invaders were the first Europeans to discover potatoes. Sailors took potatoes home to Spain in the late 1500s.[7]
  • Only two things in this world are too serious to be jested on: potatoes and matrimony.

    - Irish Saying

  • Sir Walter Raleigh brought potatoes back to Ireland in 1589. The country is now famous (or infamous) for its potato farming industry.[7]
  • Potatoes arrived in the present-day United States in 1621, when the Governor of Bermuda sent chests filled with the vegetable to the governor of Jamestown, one of the first towns in the original thirteen colonies.[7]
  • Thomas Jefferson brought french fries to America when he returned to the states from France after the Revolutionary War.[7]
  • Antonine-Augustin Parmentier was responsible for introducing the potato to France. After living in a Prussian prison for three years, he emerged in fairly good health, having survived only on potatoes. He took the vegetable home with him.[4]
  • After receiving a bouquet of potato flowers, French Queen Marie Antoinette made the flower trendy in France by stepping out with it adorning her clothing.[4]
  • Irish Potato Famine
    The Irish Potato Famine caused starvation and infighting as food supplies dwindled
  • The Irish Potato Famine was caused by “potato blight,” a disease that rots plants like potatoes and tomatoes. Blight ruined potato crops during the 1840s, causing a million people to die of starvation and another million to emigrate to the New World.[7]
  • Idaho, known as the “potato state,” did not begin growing potatoes until 1836. When Idaho’s most famous variety of potato, the russet, was cultivated in 1872, the rest was history.[7]
  • Each American eats about 124 pounds of potatoes annually. Germans eat about 250 pounds.[12]
  • Each acre of potato crop can feed ten people.[7]
  • Potatoes can be cultivated to grow in a variety of weather and climate conditions, making it a good food source for almost every population in the world.[2]
  • Potatoes are the fourth largest food crop in the world.[7]
  • Potatoes have a dormancy period (the time spent underground before sprouting) of about six months.[3]
  • Potatoes were the first vegetable grown in space.[7]
  • The largest potato ever grown was over 7 pounds.[12]
  • Potatoes and tomatoes are very closely related, even though they look and taste very different. They are both members of the nightshade family.[1]
  • Potatoes should not be washed until just before eating, since washing can make potatoes rot early.[12]
  • Potato Cooking Cutting
    Potatoes contain almost all the nutrients you need. Maybe mashed potatoes for dinner tonight?

  • Potatoes contain almost every single nutrient a human needs to survive. Some scientists suggest you could live on a potato-only diet (so long as you had a little milk or butter).[4]
  • Many potato nutrients are in or close to the potato skin, so in order to get the most out of the spud, eat it all.[12]
  • There are over 1000 different kinds of potatoes.[4]
  • A third of the world’s potatoes are grown in India and China.[8]
  • In Chinese culture, potatoes are believed to be beneficial for the stomach, intestines, and spleen. Because of this, potatoes are often used as remedies for ailments of these organs.[3]
  • H.W. Lay, the inventor of Lay’s potato chips, was a traveling salesman during the 1930s. In order to make money, he started selling chips out of his car in 1931.[6]
  • It takes four or five potatoes to make every bag of Lay’s potato chips.[6]
  • The popular children's television show Arthur featured an episode where the characters found a green potato chip and feared that it was poisoned. Green potatoes are just tubers that have been exposed to light.
  • Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor includes the line, “Let the sky rain potatoes.”[4]
  • Potato Fact Cooking
    The humble potato: inspiration for artists everywhere!
  • One of the most famous post-impressionist paintings features potatoes—Van Gogh’s Potato Eaters is one of his most complex, showcasing peasants with potato-colored skin and clothes eating a plate full of potatoes.[13]
  • One of the most famous literary potatoes comes from James Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysses. The main character, Leopold Bloom, has a potato in his pocket for much of the novel, and the book includes the phrase “Potato Preservative Against Plague and Pestilence, pray for us” in one chapter.[11]
  • The popular alternative band Panic! At The Disco spent the early months of 2018 sending fans potatoes bearing the phrase “Oh it’s Saturday night,” written in Sharpie, as part of a marketing campaign for their upcoming album.[9]
  • Eating french fries more than twice a week makes you twice as likely to die, according to a 2018 study.[5]
  • Mr. Potato Head, the most famous tuber-related toy, was invented in 1952.[10]
  • Mr. Potato Head was the first toy to have its own television commercial.[10]
  • Mr. Potato Head has been featured in all three Toy Story franchise films. He was originally the only licensed toy to have a role, before Mattel allowed Barbie to be used in the second and third movies.[10]
  • The United Nations declared 2008 "The Year of the Potato."[3]
  • Spudtastic Potato Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Potato Infographic Growing Facts

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