Discover the different varieties of potatoes, how to cook them, and find inspiration for incorporating them into your weekly menu.
After all, they are extremely versatile. They can be cooked and prepared in a variety of ways. And there are endless delicious recipes featuring the spud.
Potatoes are root vegetables with a starchy consistency. They are nutrient-rich with vitamin C and contain more potassium than a banana. Potatoes are high in fiber, low in calories, and are considered a healthy carbohydrate.
For more information, read this guide to potato nutrition.
How to store potatoes
Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place like a pantry cabinet. Store in a well-ventilated container like a basket, bowl, or even a brown paper bag. This cool environment prevents the potatoes from turning green or soft and prematurely sprouting. Potatoes should not be refrigerated.
Types of potatoes
- Russet - These medium-large oblong potatoes have a light and fluffy texture. They are a great choice for mashed potatoes. They can also be used for frying and baking.
- Yellow - These round or oblong potatoes can range in size from small to large. They have a slightly waxy texture with golden skin. Yellow potatoes are wonderful when grilled and can also be baked or mashed.
- White - These small-medium potatoes have thin, light-colored skin. They have a slightly starchy, slightly creamy texture. White potatoes can be used for mashing, grilling, or in potato salads.
What are Yukon gold potatoes? Yukon golds are a combination of white and yellow potatoes. They have thin skins and are very versatile in cooking.
- Red - These small-medium round potatoes have thin red skin and a waxy and creamy texture. Red potatoes are often used for potato salad, but can also be baked or mashed.
- Purple - These small-medium potatoes are known for their purple/blue coloring - both inside and out. They have a firm, starchy texture. Purple potatoes are best when roasted or grilled.
- Fingerling - These purple, red, or white finger-shaped potatoes are 2-4 inches long and have a firm yet buttery texture. They are ideal for roasting or using in salads.
What are new potatoes? New potatoes are fresh, small young potatoes that are harvested earlier in the season when they are sweeter and have thin, more tender skins. The term "new" refers to any variety of potatoes that are harvested early in the season.
- Frozen potatoes - The freezer case at the supermarket is filled with many different varieties of quick-cooking spuds. There are crinkle and waffle-cut fries, wedges, tots, spiral sliced, and shredded or cubed hash browns. These potatoes are quickly frozen to lock in their freshness, and they are great options for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Is a sweet potato a potato? Despite their name, sweet potatoes are not directly related to potatoes. Sweet potatoes come from the morning glory family while potatoes come from the nightshade family.
How to cook potatoes
- Roasting - Cut potatoes into uniformly-sized pieces (approx. 1 inch). Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper and other seasonings of your choice. Roast at 400-425 degrees until fork-tender.
- Baking - Most commonly used for larger potatoes. Leave whole, scrub clean, and bake at 400 degrees for approximately an hour. This time may vary slightly depending on the size of the potato. Slice open and serve steakhouse-style with butter, sour cream, and chives.
- Boiling - Use this method when making mashed potatoes or potato salad. Cut larger potatoes into uniform pieces (1-2 inches). Thinner-skinned potatoes can be left unpeeled if desired. Cover the potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain.
- Pan-frying - This method is ideal for breakfast potatoes or hashbrowns. Cut the potatoes into small cubes or slice them thin. Cook in a hot skillet in butter/oil until golden and tender.
- Grilling - This adds wonderful smokiness to the potatoes and is convenient if you are grilling the main portion of your meal. Cut smaller potatoes in half. Larger potatoes can be sliced or cut into wedges. Toss with oil and season as desired. I recommend using a grill pan to prevent the potatoes from falling through the grill grates. Cook, turning as needed, until the potatoes are tender.
Recipes featuring potatoes
For more inspiration for incorporating potatoes into your next meal, browse all potato recipes here.
Here are my favorite tools for preparing potatoes.
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