With about 100 domestic types of potatoes available to the public, it's a little hard to have just one favorite. However, some potatoes work better in some recipes than others, which is why it is important to know your potato.
Potatoes are divided into three general categories: all around good potato, high-starch content potato and low-starch content potato. The perfect baking and mashing potato is a high-starch content potato, such as the Idaho baker or the Russet potato. Red Pontiac potatoes are lower in starch and hold their shape nicely. Because of their great taste, they are also good as bakers or in soups and scalloped dishes.
Potatoes: Varieties and Uses
Selecting potatoes at the store is less complicated than one might think. If a potato is rotten or going bad, it usually gives off a horrendous smell. Simply lift the bag of potatoes, examine it visually and then hold the bag to your nose and sniff. If there's a bad potato in there, you'll know.
Potatoes should be stored in a dry, cool, dark place. If the temperature is too cold, it will cause the starch in the potato to turn to sugar, giving the potato a sweet taste. Raw potatoes that freeze will turn black. Once they thaw, they will be soft and inedible.
Cooking With Potatoes
Based on the amount of starch a potato contains, different potatoes should be cooked or baked differently. As a general rule, it's wise not to wrap a potato in foil when baking, as that holds in moisture and literally steams the potato. The result is that it will have the texture of a boiled potato. Instead, wash the potato, and place it in the oven as is. When it's done, cut a large X across the top, and then press both sides of the potato inward at the same time. The creamy insides will push out of the opening, showing off what you are about to enjoy.
Although sweet potatoes are most popular around the holidays, several recipes for sweet potatoes can be enjoyed all year long. Not only do sweet potatoes give you an alternative to russet potatoes, but they are also incredibly healthy. In fact, they're much healthier than white varieties.
Making garlic mashed potatoes is a simple affair, but you can transform them into a gourmet dish. Just start by choosing the right potato for mashing.
Whether you have purchased too many potatoes at the grocery store or just harvested your garden, you need to know how to store potatoes. Here's how to make them last.