One Potato, Two Potato.....
Few foods are as versatile, delicious, or as nutritious as the potato. They are members of the night shade family and once thought to be poisonous. We can thank Sir Walter Raleigh for debunking this superstition by planting them on property he owned in Ireland. The Irish began growing and eating potatoes in big quantities, and today, hundreds of varieties are grown around the world.
Russets: Russet Burbank is the workhorse of potatoes. It is oblong, russet brown in color with netted or somewhat rough skin. It is primarily used for baking and for French fries because of its high starch content which makes it fluffy when cooked. Rosset Norkotah, Centennial Russet, and new russets such as the HiLite Russet, and Ranger Russet, are other varieties that give the name more versatility in boiling, mashing, and roasting.
Red potatoes: Round red potatoes have a rosy red skin with white flesh. Red Norlands, Pontiac, Red Lasoda, Sangre, and Larouge, are the main varieties. Chieftain, Viking, and Red Ruby are less common. Their waxy texture makes them perfect for boiling but they can be used for any cooking purpose. Cook them unpeeled, and mash, or use in a potato salad for a different look.
White potatoes: Round whites such as the Superior are light to medium brown in color, and are an all-purpose potato used mostly for boiling and baking. Long whites such as the White Rose are grown in California during the spring and summer. They have an oval shape with a thin, light tan, almost translucent skin and are good for boiling and roasting as well as in potato salads.
Yellow-fleshed potatoes: Yellow-fleshed potatoes such as Yukon Gold seem richer and less in need of butter than others.
Fingerlings: These are about the length of your pinkie finger and are wonderful for roasting. Desiree: Desiree has pinkish flesh, and is good for roasting and steaming. New potatoes: These are a variety of young potatoes that haven’t had time to convert their sugar fully to starch. They have a crisp waxy texture with thin, undeveloped wispy skins. Their small size makes them perfect to cook whole boiled or pan-roasted. They are excellent for potato salad because they retain their shape after being cooked and cut.
Blue potatoes: Blue potatoes are somewhat of a novelty, although they’ve been around for thousands of years. The outside is deep blue or purple and the flesh ranges from blue to white. For more information on selection and storage of potatoes, visit your farmers' market info booth for a brochure.