Taters Gonna Tate: Curious facts about Potatoes for National Potato Day
Although it’s not clear who started this peculiar holiday, spud lovers around the country will have a reason to celebrate because today is National Potato Day! This humble yet versatile crop can be enjoyed for any meal and is used in countless recipes. This day highlights the significance of this world-famous starchy vegetable.
Not only is the versatility of potatoes second to none, but they’re also very nutritious. In a study conducted by the University of Washington, researchers found that potatoes provide the best nutritional value in the entire produce section. In fact, because the potato is 80% water, it can aid in maintaining lower blood pressure. Not to mention that the fiber in its peel can help lower cholesterol by along cholesterol and blood to bind together. Studies have also shown that potatoes can be used as a preventative method for cancer. One such research is from a 2015 study conducted by researchers at Zhejiang University, where they claim that potatoes reduce your chance of acquiring the illness by 33 percent.
So, you see — potatoes don’t have their own national day of celebration for nothing! This nutrient found in each tuber is cause for celebration.
Here are some fun facts on this beloved vegetable that you might find a-peeling:
- Potatoes are one of the largest vegetable crops in the world. They were first cultivated in Peru, around 5000-7000 B.C.
- According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest potato ever grown, weight in at 18 lbs, 8 oz. That’s enough for 72 portions of medium fries at McDonald's!
- There are thousands of different potato varieties, but not all are commercially available; The most popular ones include Russet, Yukon Gold, Kennebec, Desiree, and Fingerling
- Based on 2010 global statistics, China is the leading producer of potatoes
- One of the main causes of the Great Famine in Ireland between 1845 and 1852 was a potato disease known as potato blight. The shortage of potatoes led to the death of approximately 1 million people who were dependent on them as a food source.
- 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 “French fry” was allegedly served in the U.S. for the first time by Thomas Jefferson at a presidential dinner, but that could just be apocryphal.
- The average American eats 140 lbs of potatoes every year. Germans are among the biggest of the potato lovers since they eat more than 200 lbs of potatoes per year.
You can find potatoes served in its many forms (raw, cooked, boiled, baked, or fried) in the majority of cuisines across the world. We believe that National Potato Day is best celebrated by incorporating this versatile veggie into a variety of diseases.
We would love to hear about your favorite potato recipes. In the meantime, here’s one of ours:
Total Time: 1 hr 15 minutes
Active Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings
- Olive Oil
- ½ small red onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp of smoked paprika
- ¾ c prepared mayonnaise
- 1 large plum tomato, halved, seeded, and roasted until soft
- Few dashes of hot pepper sauce (e.g Tabasco)
- Splash of aged sherry vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large Russet potatoes, parboiled, peeled, and cut into 1-inch cubes
- Flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375o Place baking sheet into the oven.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and cook until soft for about 5 minutes. Add the paprika and cook for 30 seconds. Let cool slightly.
- Combine the onion mixture with mayonnaise, tomato, hot pepper sauce, and vinegar in a food processor and process until smooth, season with salt and pepper. Scrape the mixture into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- Heat 2-inches of pure olive oil or canola oil in a large high-sided, heavy-bottomed skillet until it begins to shimmer. Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown on all sides.
- Remove the potatoes to a paper towel-lined plate for a moment to drain the excess oil. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and put the potatoes on the pan in an even layer.
- Bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and season the potatoes with a bit more salt and pepper. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with some of the aiolis and garnish with parsley leaves. Serve hot.