America's most popular vegetable, potatoes can be boiled, baked, fried, microwaved, steamed, or roasted, with or without their peels. They're often paired with butter, sour cream, or oil, but left to themselves they're quite low in calories and loaded with nutrients.
Store them in a cool, dark, dry, well-ventilated place. Don't refrigerate them--doing so converts some of the potato's starch to sugar. And don't expose them to direct sunlight, which turns them green and makes them bitter. Scrape away any sprouts or green spots, since they might contain a mildly toxic compound called solanine.
Equivalents: 1 lb = 4 cups diced = 1 3/4 cups mashed
Substitutes: sweet potato (browns faster) OR parnip (especially in stews) OR cassava OR dasheen OR malanga OR yuca OR jicama (for mashing or baking) OR lotus root (in stews) OR Jerusalem artichoke OR rutabaga (for mashing or stews) OR cauliflower (for mashing)
Varieties: Potatoes with a high starch content, like russets, bake well and yield light and fluffy mashed potatoes. Those with a low starch content, like red-skinned potatoes, hold their shape after cooking, and are great for making potato salads and scalloped potatoes. Medium starch potatoes are called all-purpose potatoes, and they'll work in most potato dishes.
Best for baking: russet potato
Best for potato salads, gratins, and scalloped potatoes: Yellow Finn potato, new potato, red-skinned potato, white round potato, and purple potato
Best for mashing: russet potato, Yukon gold potato, Caribe potato, and purple potato
Best for soups and chowders: Yukon gold potato, Yellow Finn potato, red-skinned potato, white round potato, and purple potato
Best for pan-frying: red-skinned potatoes, white round potatoes, new potatoes, and fingerling potatoes
Best for French fries: russet potato, purple potato, Bintje potato
Best for purees: fingerling potatoes
Best for roasting: new potatoes, Bintje potatoes
Best for steaming: new potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes
Best for potato pancakes: russet potato, Yukon Gold potato
baby potatoes See new potatoes.
baking potato See russet potato.
Bintje potato Notes: This is a creamy, yellow-fleshed potato that's especially good for roasting and making fries. Pronunciation: BEN-jee Substitutes: Yukon Gold OR Yellow Finn
boiling potato = waxy potato = low-starch potato Notes: Potatoes in this category hold their shape after cooking, so they're great for making potato salads and scalloped potatoes. They're not good for mashing, baking, or making fries. Types of boiling potatoes are new potatoes, fingerling potatoes, round white potatoes, and round red potatoes.
Caribe potato Notes: These large, starchy potatoes have purple skins and white flesh. They're great mashed, but they don't hold their shape well, so they shouldn't be used in potato salads or scalloped potatoes. Substitutes: Yukon gold potato
chats See new potatoes.
chef's potato See russet potato.
creamers See new potatoes.
earlies See new potatoes.
finger potato See fingerling potato.
fingerling potato = finger potato Notes: There are many varieties of these small, finger-shaped potatoes, but they all tend to be low in starch, and great for roasting or making potato salads. Substitutes: new potatoes
Finnish yellow wax
Idaho potato See russet potato.
long white potato Notes: These oblong potatoes have a medium starch content, and are valued for their versatility. They're good to keep in the pantry as an all-purpose potato.
low-starch potato See boiling potato.
new potatoes = creamers = baby potatoes = chats = potato nuggets = earlies Notes: The term "new potatoes" is sometimes used to describe all small waxy potatoes, but technically it refers just to immature potatoes harvested in the spring and early summer. You can tell if a potato is truly new by its skin; immature potatoes have flimsy, parchment-like skins that you can peel off with your fingers. New potatoes are prized for their high moisture content and creamy texture, and because they can be cooked whole. They're especially good steamed or roasted. They're more perishable than other potatoes, so use them within a few days after buying them. Substitutes: Larger boiling potatoes, cut into smaller cubes
potato nuggets See new potatoes.
purple peruvian potato
purple potato = purple Peruvian potato = blue potato = black potato Notes: These purple-fleshed potatoes have a medium starch content, so they're good all-purpose potatoes. They lend an interesting color to mashed potatoes or potato salads, but they're not as flavorful as other varieties. They tend to get mushy if they're over-cooked. Substitutes: Yukon Gold OR Yellow Finn
red-skinned potato = red potato = red round potato Notes: These waxy potatoes hold their shape after they're cooked, so they're great for making potato salads and scalloped potatoes. Don't mash them--you'll end up with a sticky, gooey mess. Substitutes: Yellow Finn potato (yellow flesh) OR Yukon Gold potato (yellow flesh) OR white round
russet potato = Idaho potato = baking potato = starchy potato = chef's potato Notes: These potatoes are high in starch and low in moisture, so they bake well and yield light, fluffy mashed potatoes. They don't hold their shape after cooking, so don't use them to make potato salads or scalloped potatoes. Don't wrap them in aluminum foil while baking them; the foil traps moisture and makes the potato mushier. Substitutes: white rose potato (for fries) OR Yukon gold potatoes (for mashing)
starchy potato See russet potato.
waxy potato See boiling potato.
white round potato Notes: These low-starch potatoes are great for boiling.
Yellow Finn potato = Yellow Finnish potato = Finnish yellow wax Notes: These are great all-purpose potatoes, known for their yellow flesh, creamy texture, and buttery flavor. Substitutes: Yukon Gold potato (not as sweet as Yellow Finn) OR red-skinned potatoes OR white round potatoes
Yukon Gold potato Notes: These are good all-purpose potatoes that have yellow flesh and a rich flavor. They're great for boiling, but they tend to fall apart if over-cooked. Substitutes: Yellow Finn potatoes (slightly sweeter than Yukon gold) OR red-skinned potato (lacks yellow flesh) OR white round potatoes
Copyright © 1996-2005 Lori Alden