Sunday, November 6, 2011


Potatoes!  Not only are there different sizes and colors but they also perform differently depending on how you are preparing them and what their intended use will be.

I have made many soups and stews only to look in the stock pot just before serving and asking "where are my potatoes!"  They seems to have turned to mashed potatoes in the liquid.  My thought was always that maybe I cooked them too long.  Well, maybe I did but more than likely I was using the wrong potato variety for my dish.

There are 2 major categories of potatoes based on their starch, moisture and sugar content:

Mature or Starchy Potatoes.  High starch/low moisture/low sugar (Russets or Idahos) 
Light, dry and mealy when cooked.
  • Ideal for baking, mashed potatoes and french fries

Waxy Potatoes.  High moisture/high sugar/low starch (Red skin and New Potatoes)
Holds shape well when cooked
  • Salads, soups, hash browns and any time you want the potato to hold its shape well.
Many experts will tell you there is also a third category:

Medium-Starch Potatoes

Yukon Gold, Yellow Finns, and all-purpose potatoes do a better job of holding their shape but share many traits in common with high-starch potatoes.
They range from Waxy to somewhat Starchy.  These can be baked and produce a smooth, creamy texture unlike the Russet which is more grainy and starchy.

There are many other potatoes that fall into each of these categories.  I gave the ones I see at the grocery the most.

To store potatoes keep them in a cool, dark place.  Never refrigerate!

1 pound=4 cups diced=1 3/4 cups mashed.

Trivia:  Not all small potatoes are new potatoes, and not all new potatoes are small.

With Thanksgiving coming up I thought it would be good to add a mashed potato recipe from America's Test Kitchen.  If you are not a member of this site I would highly recommend!  It is a paid subscription but the videos are fantastic and they test these recipes until they have them down to a science.  This would be my dream job!  There is an offer for a free 14 day trial.  That is how I began my obsession with them!  Here is the link to watch the demonstration and get the recipe:

If this link does not work.  Go to the America's Test Kitchen website.  I cannot reprint this recipe for you under their copy right laws.  I have no affiliation with this website other than I love them!

1 comment:

  1. Marcie, what great info...I never knew any of the info you just published...thanks for sharing, still learning at, momma