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Synonyms:  spuds

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 

blue potato

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

huckleberry potato

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


oca potato  



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