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Not Potato: World’s Heaviest Potato Is Actually Just a Gourd Outgrowth

Ellen Gutoskey
"Did you hear about Doug?"
"Did you hear about Doug?" / Andrei Vasilev/iStock via Getty Images
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Last summer, Colin Craig-Brown was clearing out his garden in Waikato, New Zealand, when he happened upon a mysterious lumpy mass.

“I got the fork and jabbed into it, and hoisted it out of the ground, and [thought] ‘Holy snapping turtle teeth, what’s going on here?’” he told New Zealand’s Newshub.

Based on its appearance and flavor—Colin and his wife, Donna, tasted a little raw chunk of it—the couple concluded that it must be a potato, though they hadn’t intentionally grown any in their garden. And this wasn’t just any potato: The presumed tuber tipped the scales at 17.4 pounds, outweighing the world’s current heaviest potato by more than six pounds. So the Craig-Browns sent off a sample and other documentation to Guinness World Records and settled in to see if they’d soon wrest the title from UK vegetable grower Peter Glazebrook.

In the meantime, they gave “Doug” (so named because he was dug out of the ground) all the creature comforts a root vegetable could ever want, including a hat, a sizable spot in the Craig-Browns’ freezer, and rides on a four-wheeled cart constructed just for him.

“He doesn’t have arms and legs and that sort of thing, so I made him a little trolley so I can take him out and give him a bit of sunshine now and then,” Colin explained.

Unfortunately, as UPI reports, Guinness World Records recently determined that Doug is not the world’s heaviest potato due to the simple fact that he is not a potato. Instead, the DNA test found that he’s really “the tuber of a type of gourd.” 

The Craig-Browns hadn’t ever grown gourds in their garden, either. But, as Colin told The New York Times, he did once plant “hybridized cucumbers,” which he speculated may have been previously crossbred with a gourd plant. The cucumbers had occupied the same spot where Doug was found, strengthening this origin story. 

While Doug won’t end up in the Guinness Book of World Records, he might end up in a cocktail. Colin considered brewing him into vodka back when he thought Doug was a potato, and he’s still planning to try it. He also hasn’t given up hope of clinching the record for world’s heaviest potato—this time, however, he’ll be planting one on purpose.

“I’m really gonna give it my all and have a go at growing the biggest potato in the world,” he told Stuff.

[h/t UPI]

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