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.
For substitutions for potatoes in general, click here.
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