Potatoes have more uses than you could ever imagine. Potato bread, roasted potatoes, French fries, as a thickener… the list just goes on and on. That’s what makes them such a great staple food!
Types of Potatoes:
While there are literally hundreds of varieties grown around the world, the most common for us come from four categories: russet, long white, round white & round red, and yellow fleshed.
- Russets, also known as baking potatoes (they are often dry and mealy after baking), have an oval shape, rough brown skin, and lots of eyes. Russets are a starchy potato, so they don’t hold their shape well after being cooked. They are great for baking or mashing.
- Long whites are similar in shape but have a thin, pale skin with tiny eyes. These can be baked, boiled or fried and their thumb-sized counterpart is known as the fingerling.
- Round whites have a speckled skin and either brown or red speckled skin – both are great for boiling!
- Yukon Gold’s (yellow fleshed) have a beautiful golden skin and flesh and make great mashed potatoes.
How to Pick Potatoes:
Make sure you pick the right potato for the right recipe! When picking them out, look for ones that are firm with a good shape and are free from marks and blemishes. Avoid those that have bald spots, are a bit wrinkly or have sprouts popping out of them. Avoid green skin!
How To Pick The Right Potato For The Job:
A starchy potato generally has a very thick skin – they are the bakers, russets, and Idaho potatoes – to name a few. When they cook, their texture becomes dry and mealy. They are perfect for baking, roasting, and frying. Because they fall apart when cooked, they make a great thickener for soup and also make for great mashed potatoes.
A non-starchy potato has thinner skin and can be boiled, steamed, roasted, pan fried, and grilled. When these potatoes cook, they hold their shape well, making them great for a potato salad, soup, or stew.
Yukon Gold potatoes are all-purpose potatoes. They have golden buttery flavoured flesh that can be used like a starchy or non-starchy.
How to Store Potatoes:
Most varieties of potatoes can last a long time (up to two weeks) if stored in a cool and dark place with good ventilation.
How to Prepare Potatoes:
Whether boiling, roasting steaming, mashing, or baking, make sure to scrub your potatoes well and dry with a paper towel.
If you’re peeling and cutting ahead of time, allow them to stand in cold water until you’re ready to cook them so that they don’t turn brown.
Potatoes can be left whole, peeled, or cut any way you desire. The smaller you cut your potato, the quicker it will cook.
Kary’s Potato Tips:
- Choose potatoes that are all about the same size – this will ensure they all cook and are ready to eat at the same time.
- The skin of a potato holds a lot of nutrients, so if you are able to keep them on, all-the better!
- Use an 1/8 teaspoon to remove the eyes from the potato.
- Salt the water well with boiling potatoes; this will help season the potatoes as they boil.
- Don’t store potatoes in a closed plastic bag, they need to breathe, or they’ll rot.
- Thin-skinned potatoes are best for stews, as they hold their shape once cooked.
- When mashing potatoes, allow the potatoes to steam dry in the pot you boiled them in over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes. This will remove all water so you have a drier mash.
- If you’re making a lot of baked potatoes, use a muffin tin. The potatoes placed in a muffin tin will make it easier to move the potatoes in and out of the oven.
- To quickly cook potatoes on the grill or stove top, par boil them first to speed up the cooking process.
- The smaller you cut your potatoes pieces for mashed potatoes the quicker they’ll cook.
What Goes Well With Potatoes?
Potatoes go well with: Bacon, onions, cream, milk, eggs, garlic, curry powder, bay leaf, beef, butter, cauliflower, cheese, chicken, eggs, leeks, mayonnaise, mushrooms, mustard, oil, parsley, parsnips, pepper, rosemary, salt, sour cream, thyme, and cheese.