At first glance there’s nothing all that funny about the humble potato. In fact they’re so full of starchy goodness that they appear to be boringly practical.
But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that the spud and its history are actually pretty interesting. Ladies and Gentlemen let me present you with some funny facts about potatoes.
1 Potatoes are Gold
Don’t swap your wedding ring for a sack of spuds just yet! The potato was only more valuable than gold for a very short period, and also only in Alaska.
Between 1897 and 1898 the Klondike Gold Rush meant the precious metal was everywhere in Alaska. Food however was in short supply and because potatoes were such a good source of nutrition prices began to sore, to the point where the root vegetable was worth its weight in gold.
2 Potatoes and Science
The potato was the very first vegetable to be grown in space orbit. This was done by NASA in 1995 in an attempt to see how astronauts can be fed on long journeys through the galaxy in the future.
It’s not the first time potatoes have been involved in science. In the past they’ve been placed on broken bones to aid the healing process, used to treat indigestion and even to soothe sunburn.
3 Potatoes and Apples
Quite how anyone confuses a potato with an apple beats me. But it seems that’s exactly what our friends from France have done. In French the potato is called pomme de terre, which literally translates as apple of the earth.
I guess apple of the earth is just about an acceptable name for a potato but fries being called pommes frites is not. If I thought I was ordering fried apple I’d be a bit disappointed to see a plate of chips in front of me.
The French aren’t the only ones to associate potatoes with apples though. Back in Tudor Britain they were often referred to as “apples of love” and considered to be a natural aphrodisiac.
Potatoes and Apples do seem to get on well. If you store an apple alongside your spuds it will stop them sprouting.
4 Fries, Chips and more Chips
Potatoes give us fries, and everybody loves fries. A quarter of all the potatoes grown in Britain are used to make them, which works out at more than 1.5 million tonnes every single year.
Americans eat more potatoes than any other vegetable. A lot of these are in the form of fries, but they also love to munch potato chips. On Super Bowl Sunday alone approximately 28 million pounds, or 12,700 tonnes, of potato chips are eaten in the states. That’s the same weight as 2,761 African Elephants.