Virtually everyone thinks they know potatoes. Okay, admittedly, most people need a pass on their limited spuds knowledge because almost everywhere they turn, they’re facing a potato in one form or another from fired to mashed, baked, boiled and riced. Unfortunately, despite this potato onslaught, way too many munchers would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a red, yellow or white potato. Don’t worry. WellWell again is here to help with the starchy breakdown, especially when it comes to taste, texture and preferred applications.
Thinking potatoes and chance are russets come to mind. They are long and large and have a thick, rough, skin. This high-starch option is what a baked potato is all about. They are also great as mashed potatoes because they can absorb an impressive amount of liquid or other enrichments. They’re pretty good in a lot of other standard uses as well, but it is probably best to avoid using them in soups where small potato chunks are required. Chances are these pieces would just fall apart.
These spuds have smooth skins and appear a little waxy, but they deliver an appealing light buttery color when cooked. They are a great option for mashed or shredded dishes and they hold together nicely for use in soups.
Not all white potatoes are exactly the same. In fact, they have two distinct shapes. The longer varieties resemble a russet, while round varieties kind of look like an old baseball with a white to light tan skin. Both varieties have white flesh and are waxy but have less starch than russets. White potatoes are pretty versatile. They can be used for boiling, mashing, steaming, roasting, as well as in potato soups and casserole dishes. Aficionados report these potatoes are slightly creamy with a subtle sweet undertone taste.
Red potatoes, as expected, boast a ruby to deep red skin that is relatively thin. The flesh is crisp, white and firm that when cooked gives off a buttery flavor. They also have a reputation of holding their shape well when cooked, which allows them to be used in a number of culturally diverse recipes.
Blue potatoes, aka purple potatoes, are a South American product. Seen as something of a superfood, they are loaded with antioxidants. Their color comes from natural anthocyanin pigments, which are responsible for blues, reds, and violets in many fruits and vegetables. While versatile, their color has no impact on their taste.
Why are fingerling potatoes called fingerlings? Obviously, because they are small, stubby, long potatoes that resemble fingers. They are also a product of heirloom potato cultivars. There are several types of these spuds, but the most popular varieties include the yellow-skinned Russian Banana, the red/orange-skinned French fingerling and the Purple Peruvian. Given their size and because they are heirlooms, fingerlings are relatively expensive, but they are also incredibly tasty.
New potatoes don’t get their name because they are recently developed. Rather, their moniker comes from the fact they are harvested from the vine while the leaves are still green. This process means these potatoes are particularly thin-skinned and are less starchy than more mature alternatives. Best served as steamed, boiled options, mixed in salads or roasted in foil.
This famous potato was first produced in Canada when a North American white potato was crossed and a wild South American yellow potato. The result was a richly flavored and fairly firm spud with a medium starch content. Something between a fluffy russet potato and the more moist, waxy varieties, Yukon Golds are superb for mashing and in soups and chowders.
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