Potatoes are vegetables but they contain a lot of starch (carbohydrates) that make them more like rice, pasta and bread in terms of nutrition.
Much like rice, wheat and maize (corn), potato crops are an important part the world’s diet.
The word potato comes from the Spanish word patata.
Potato plants are usually pollinated by insects such as bumblebees.
Potatoes contain a variety of vitamins and minerals.
There are thousands of different potato varieties but not all are commercially available, popular ones include Russet, Yukon Gold, Kennebec, Desiree and Fingerling.
While the role of genetic modification is up for debate, research has led to genetically modified potato varieties that have potential benefits such as increased protein and resistance to viruses.
Based on 2010 statistics, China is the leading producer of potatoes.
Potatoes don’t store very well after purchase but they are relatively easy to grow.
Potato storage facilities are kept at temperatures above 4 °C (39 °F) as potato starch turns into sugar and alters the taste below this temperature.
Potatoes are prepared and served in many different ways, including boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, French fries and hash browns.
French fries contain a lot of fat so don’t eat too many!
Potatoes are usually served hot, but sometimes cold in the form of potato chips or potato salad.
Despite health concerns, potato chips are one of the most common snack foods in the world with billions of packets being consumed every year.
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 around 1 million people who were dependent on them as a food source.
Although it shares the same name, the sweet potato is a root vegetable and only loosely related to the potato.
Potatoes are sometimes called spuds.