I like produce. I like to grow it. I like to eat it. I like to create recipes with it. I’m also kind of a nerd and like to get to know my produce. I like learning new or fun tidbits of info about the produce I’m growing/eating/baking. If you’re a weirdo like me then buckle up for this new series as I dive into a plethora of produce facts and share them with you.
1. A potato is about 80% water. That seems crazy for as heavy as they are but it’s true!
2. Potatoes are technically veggies but they contain a lot of starchy carbs that make them more like bread, rice, or pasta in terms of nutrition.
3. “French Fries” were introduced to America when Thomas Jefferson served them at a White House dinner.
4. Unlike many veggies, a potato is still living when you harvest it, although it’s in a dormant state. Warmth and moisture can still cause the spuds to start sprouting, which is why you’re supposed to keep them cool and dry.
5. Despite health concerns, potato chips are one of the most common snack foods in the world with billions of bags being consumed every year.
6. The potato is the world’s fourth largest food crop, following rice, wheat, and maize. The Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes around 8,000 BC to 5,000 B.C.
7. During the 1840’s a potato disease wiped out a majority of the crop in Ireland. Since the Irish working class lived largely on potatoes, the disease meant their main staple food disappeared. The famine that resulted left many poverty-stricken families with no choice but to struggle to survive or emigrate out of Ireland. Over the course of the famine, almost one million people died from starvation or disease. Another one million people left Ireland, mostly for Canada and the United States.
8. Potatoes were the first vegetable grown in space! Seed potatoes were first tested in space in 1995 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. Then, in 2004, NASA started using a Chinese technique to make the ultimate chamber-grown spud.
9. Did you know that a passive-aggressive chef accidentally invented the potato chip? IN 1853, chef George Crum was head of the kitchen at Cary Moon’s Lake House in Saratoga, New York, a place where railroad mogul Cornelius Vanderbilt liked to dine. Vanderbilt wasn’t a fan of the thick-cut potatoes on his plate, so one day he sent them back to the kitchen, a move that annoyed Crum. In retaliation, Crum sliced the spuds as thinly as he could, fried them in oil with some salt, and turned them into crispy potatoes, thinking he would make Vanderbilt angry. Instead, Vanderbilt loved them, and the chef’s revenge turned out to be the genesis of one of America’s most popular snack foods.
10. Every year enough potatoes are grown worldwide to cover a four-lane motorway circling the world six times.
Had you heard any of those fun facts before? Do you have any of your own to add? Is there a particular produce item you want to know more about?
Salted Potatoes! It’s the best side dish ever. How can something simple be so good? Go make these Salt Potatoes and you will see.