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Way to go, Idaho! Monday is National Potato Day

Happy National Potato Day! Photo: Getty Images

It’s a ‘spud-tastic’ day to celebrate that humblest of tubers — the potato. Monday, August 19, 2019, is National Potato Day.

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Whether you like your potato baked, mashed, boiled, fried, shredded, covered with cheese, formed into tots or sliced in a casserole, odds are pretty good you’ve got a preference — and probably a recipe of your own.

Did you know?

The potato’s origins go back to 8000 BC, when the Inca in Peru first cultivated potatoes. In 1536, after Spanish conquistadors invaded Peru, they made sure potatoes were on the menu when they returned home to Spain.

There are over 4,000 varieties of potato. Because they are relatively easy to grow and inexpensive to produce and buy, potatoes are a staple in diets all over the world.

The potato was the first vegetable grown in space, when NASA teamed up with the University of Wisconsin to make it happen in 1995.

Potato nutrition facts

Potatoes get a bad rap for their high carbohydrate content, but they’ve also got a lot to boast about.

For example, until we add other items to the potatoes in our recipes, the tubers are cholesterol-, fat- and sodium-free. They are also a good source of B6 and potassium.

Your average potato is relatively low-cal, too — at just 110 calories.

Growing your own

Potatoes are pretty stress-free as far as gardening goes. The Utah State University Extension Service recommends planting potato seed pieces around four to six inches deep, with about ten to twelve inches between plants.

And while our neighbors in Idaho know they’re “famous for potatoes,” Utah still gets some agricultural bragging rights. The Four Corners region of Utah was home to the earliest-known use of wild potatoes in North America.