Different Types of Potatoes
There are essentially six types of potatoes: Russet, red, yellow, white, fingerling, and blue. Each has its own characteristics, and knowing which one is most suited to your dish goes a long way toward making what you cook delicious.
At the simplest level, potatoes are either high starch or low starch. Those potatoes high in starch are best for baking; they tend to have coarse skin and are rather dry when not yet cooked. Once they are cooked, however, they are light and fluffy, making them ideal for mashed potatoes, French fries, baked potatoes, and fried potatoes.
What are Russet Potatoes?
Russets are probably the best-known potato. Sometimes called Idaho potatoes, baking potatoes, or old potatoes, they are high in starch, and therefore hold up well when baking and boiling.
Available year round, Russets are great for mashing, baking, frying, and roasting. Russet Burbank, Russet Arcadia, and Russet Norkotahs are popular types of Russet potatoes.
What are Red Potatoes?
Red potatoes are typically available all year round, and are great for salads, boiling, roasting, steaming, au gratin and scalloped recipes. Examples of red potatoes include Klondike Rose and Norland.
What are Yellow Potatoes?
Yellow potatoes are available most of the year and are considered an “all purpose” potato, great for roasting, baking, boiling, steaming, and mashing. Yukon Gold is an example of a yellow potato, as is Alby’s Gold and Yellow Finn.
What are White Potatoes?
White potatoes are usually available year round and are low in starch and therefore good for steaming, boiling, mashing, roasting, and au gratin recipes. White Rose is an example of a white potato.
What are Fingerling Potatoes?
These thumb-sized potatoes are also sometimes known as “finger potatoes.” They are usually low in starch and are good for boiling, baking, and roasting.
Because they have a thin skin, they are often cooked without peeling them first. Ruby crescent fingerlings and Russian banana fingerlings are often found in grocery stores.
What are Blue Potatoes?
Blue potatoes (sometimes called “purple potatoes“) are usually only available in the fall. They have a delicate flavor and are great for boiling, baking, frying, and steaming. Examples of blue potatoes include Russian Blue, All Blue, and Purple Peruvian.
What are New Potatoeses?
You might also hear the term “new potato,” which only correctly applies to a potato (any variety) before it’s reached full maturity. However, sometimes mature red potatoes are called “new potatoes.” Other terms for immature potatoes include “baby potatoes” or “creamers.”
New potatoes are crisp and moist and have thin skins; they are only available in the spring and early summer. They are a good choice for baking, boiling, or pan roasting and retain their shape well in salads and stews.
How to Store Potatoes?
Mature potatoes may be stored in a cool, dark location, such as the pantry or cellar. Potatoes taken from the garden should be dried before storage; keep them in an area between 60 and 70 degrees F. for about five days.
Properly dried, potatoes can be stored for about six months. New potatoes, however, should be used immediately.
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