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- Potatoes are a member of the nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes, capsicum and the poisonous belladonna.
- On average each global citizen eats 33kg of potatoes each year. Australians, clearly potato lovers, eat a whopping 60kg per person every year!
- In 1995 the potato became the first vegetable to be grown in space when seeds were germinated on the spaceshuttle Columbia.
- The Incans in South America were the first people to cultivate the potato as long ago as 200BCE.
- The Spanish introduced the potato to Europe following the Conquest in the sixteenth century (and the word 'potato' comes from the Spanish patata).
- In 1845 an outbreak of a disease called late blight decimated the Irish potato crop, which in turn caused the Great Irish Famine, believed to be responsible for over 1 million deaths in Ireland and the migration of a further million.
- Good news for fans of mash: humans can apparently survive on a diet of just potatoes, and milk or butter, which contain Vitamin A and D, the only vitamins missing from the humble spud.
- The world's biggest potato, weighing a hefty 3.76kg, was grown by English farmer Peter Glazebrook in 2010.
- China is currently the world's largest producer of potatoes.
- Potatoes contain a poisonous compound called solanines, which can reach toxic levels in green potatoes, in rare cases causing headaches, diarrhoea, cramps, and in isolated instances even coma and death.
Chef Darren Robertson gives tips on what brew to match with your stew: