Without the potato, the balance of European power might never have tilted north.
Chuño is a freeze-dried potato product traditionally made by Quechua and Aymara communities of Bolivia and Peru and dates back to before the Inca Empire in the 13th century.
You make Chuño by leaving potatoes outside to freeze, then dry out for five days and nights in the intense cold and hot sun of the Andean Altiplano. Once dry, they are trampled underfoot to remove the skins and help the subsequent freezing.
There are two varieties of Chuño: white chuño is obtained by washing the frozen potatoes either by constantly spraying them with water or leaving them in a river before finally drying them in the sun again. In Bolivia, white chuño is also called tunta. Black chuño is what you get without the final washing process.
Chuño can last for years and is added to all sorts of desserts and savoury dishes. It can also be ground into flour, which is an essential ingredient in many Peruvian dishes. In Bolivia, the traditional soup Chairo is made of chuño flour, meat and vegetables.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes were considered aphrodisiac when first
introduced to Europe.
Genetic testing has proved a single origin for potatoes, in the area of southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia where they were domesticated between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago.
Potatoes were taken outside the Andes region about four centuries ago and now they are the world's fourth-largest food crop, after maize, wheat and rice
Following centuries of selective breeding there are now about 5,000 different varieties of potatoes.
Gangster John Dillinger reportedly once escaped from prison by carving a potato into the shape of a pistol.
If the British Isles had an official vegetable, it would have to be the potato.
The Incas based their measurement of time on how long it took to boil a potato.
There are over 400 words for potato in Peruvian dialects.
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.
Smeagol won't grub for roots and carrotses and - taters. What's taters, precious, eh, what's taters?
The sweet potato is not related to the potato. And despite being called a yam in parts of America, from where it probably originates, it isn’t a yam either (they’re African). It is actually the tuber of a morning glory - a family of plants that includes the white trumpet flowered bindweed that's the scourge of many UK gardens.
The leaves and shoots of the sweet potato are edible but it is the tuberous root that is used as a staple in many diets.
When Frederick the Great of Prussia decided that potatoes were the Food of the Future, he gave a direct order to his subjects to grow and eat them. This unfortunately only heightened their prejudice against them.
The story goes that Frederick the Great then used a bit of reverse psychology to get his people eating spuds: he planted a royal field of potato plants and stationed a heavy guard to protect this field from thieves. Nearby peasants naturally assumed that anything worth guarding was worth stealing, and so snuck into the field and snatched the plants for their home gardens - which was precisely what their ruler had intended.
To show their respect to Frederick the Great for introducing the potato to Prussia, visitors decorate his grave with potatoes.
By the end of the 18th century, roughly 40% of the Irish ate no solid
food other than potatoes.
In the 19th century, potatoes were sometimes known as ‘Irish apricots’.
Only two things in this world are too serious to be jested on, potatoes and matrimony.
Potato mashers were used as currency by the Bafia people of Cameroon; a wife would cost about 30 mashers.