Guide to Potatoes and Their Uses
can be divided into two categories: waxy potatoes and starchy potatoes.
Though waxy potatoes can come in red and white varieties, new red potatoes
are the most popular. Russet potatoes are the most popular starchy potatoes.
Waxy potatoes have a much higher moisture content and a different cell
structure than starchy potatoes. Waxy potatoes are best for boiling,
pan frying, and canning. They will hold their shape well in water and
take abuse in the frying pan without coming apart. Russet potatoes are
light and fluffy and are perfect for baked potatoes.
salads: Use waxy potatoes for those salads calling for boiled
potatoes. For recipes calling for baked potatoes, you may use either--though
chunks of russet potatoes tend to come apart if they are stirred too
fries: Use waxy potatoes. They hold together in the frying
pan and the higher moisture content is desirable.
fries: For deep frying, we much prefer starchy potatoes. Russets
make tender fries.
fries: Russets will work well for oven fries since they are
usually baked without stirring. They are dry and require a basting of
oil. New potatoes can be used.
potatoes: Starchy russets are usually the choice for mashed
potatoes. They mash up smooth and creamy where waxy potatoes hold together
and are grainier and with a higher water content.
will potatoes keep?
Waxy potatoes with
their high water content are best if used within a few days of purchase.
Russets can be kept
much longer. In Idaho, potatoes are kept through the winter in cellars
that are temperature controlled and humidity controlled. The ideal temperature
is 35 to 40 degrees and humidity at 80 to 90 percent. The closer you
can replicate those conditions, say in a shed or garage, the longer
your russets will last. Fluctuating temperatures may cause potatoes
reds and russets
are becoming more popular. There are literally hundreds of varieties
grown in the US though most are not discernable to the grocery store
potatoes are excellent and are now readily found in many stores.
Yukon Gold is an attractive, yellow-fleshed, potato that is suited for
baking, salad and soup. It may be used in French frying but is not generally
used for such. The light yellow coloring of the flesh of a Yukon Gold
potato gives the illusion that it is pre-buttered.
purple potatoes are now found in many stores across the nation.
There is a great deal of variety in these potatoes, some with only a
blue skin and many with a blue flesh. Even with the blue flesh, they
taste like potatoes, often described as rich and nutty. Some have enough
starch to make them good for mashing but most are moist and waxy, perfect
for an unusual potato salad.