The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”
The Facts: The potato is the most important non-cereal crop in the world, and fourth most important crop overall. Only corn, wheat, and rice are more important. In the US, potato products are the second most consumed food overall, trailing only dairy products.
- Potatoes are 80% water.
- In 1995, potato plants were taken into space with the space shuttle Columbia. This marked the first time any food was ever grown in space.
- The world’s largest potato weighed in at 18 pounds, 4 ounces according to the Guinness Book of World Records. That’s enough for 73 portions of medium fries at McDonalds.
- The “French fry” was allegedly served in the U.S. for the first time by Thomas Jefferson at a presidential dinner.
- The potato originated in the region of southern Peru where it was first domesticated between 3000 BC and 2000 BC.
- Potato was first introduced in Europe by Spain in 1536, and the Spanish claim that that Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada was the first to introduce the potato to Europe. Potatoes were not accepted at once in Europe because clerics said they were not mentioned in the bible, while others believed potatoes can cause some diseases.
- Potato still remains an essential crop in Europe, where per capita production is still the highest in the world.
- The world’s largest potato producing country is China.
- Potatoes are among most environmentally friendly vegetables. They’re easy to grow, and don’t require massive amounts of fertilizer and chemical additives to thrive like many other vegetables do.
- The world’s largest potato weighed in at 18 pounds, 4 ounces. This is enough for more than 70 portions of medium fries at McDonalds. This gigantic potato was found in England in 1795.
- The potato is considered as the fourth most important crop behind the corn, wheat, and rice.
- The average American eats 140 pounds of potatoes per year. Germans are among biggest potato lovers as they eat more than 200 pounds of potato per year.
- Potatoes are also used to brew alcoholic beverages such as vodka, potcheen, or akvavit.