Potato, potahto

 

salt roasted potatoes

White, red, russet, gold, fingerling - while these are the types of potatoes you will find in most supermarkets, there are actually dozens of varieties. You might see some of the lesser known cultivars at farmers' markets or upscale grocery stores. It's tempting to pick up a bundle of purple potatoes, but then what? We've found a handy guide that will tell you what's best to make with almost every type of potato you encounter

The most ubiquitous potato in the US is the russet, a versatile spud that is useful for baking, mashing, and, of course, making French fries. The most famous variety is the one that McDonald's chooses for its fries, the Russet Burbank, first bred by Luther Burbank in 1914. The dry tending toward mealy texture of this potato makes it less suitable for using in soups, stews, or salads. 

For those applications, and for roasting, waxy red and gold potatoes are a good match. They absorb less water than other types and therefore hold their shape better. Fingerling potatoes are also well-suited for these dishes and have the advantage of looking adorable. You can find fingerlings in a variety of colors. 

New potatoes aren't a different cultivar, but are rather potatoes harvested before full maturity. They are often served boiled and tossed with butter and herbs. If you buy new potatoes, use them quickly as they do not store well. 

Funky colored potatoes that range from pink to purple to blue are fun additions to any plate. However, each different color can have its own cooking properties. One type called All Blue is drier and best suited for baking or mashing. The Cranberry Red has red skin and pink flesh, with a dense texture that holds its shape well, making it a natural for potato salad. 

The article has some fun fact about potatoes, which have unfairly earned a bad reputation as an unhealthy food. This has come about mainly because a lot people consume their potatoes in the form of fries and chips/crisps, and they slather other potatoes with copious amounts of butter and cream. Potatoes are very nutritious: the skins contain fiber and the flesh is chock-full of vitamins and minerals.

Several great cookbooks in the EYB Library are dedicated to spuds, including these Member favorites:

Photo of Salt-roasted potatoes from Bon Appétit Magazine 

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