How to Buy, Store and Prepare Potatoes

Well-Known Varieties, Characteristics and Best Use

Russet Potatoes – This potato is slender, oval fashioned with a hard brown skin and plenty of eyes. They have a mealy texture whilst cooked and cooked russets will begin to disintegrate while reduce due to the low moisture and high starch content material. This form of potato without problems absorbs butter, dressings and sauces. They are best used for baking, frying and mashing.

White, Red and Yellow Potatoes – These potatoes are spherical and keep their form while cooked. Due to their excessive moisture and occasional starch content, they have got a firmer texture and may not collapse while reduce after cooking; they’re additionally sluggish to take in butter, dressings and sauces. These potatoes are nice for boiling, steaming and roasting. They are also high-quality creamed or scalloped and in salads. Yellow and pink potatoes can be mashed, but they will now not be as fluffy as russet potatoes.

New Potatoes – Freshly harvested and marketed at some point of the past due winter or early spring, new potatoes are tiny to small potatoes of any range. Their skin is smooth and that they do not need to be peeled. When cooked, they have a company, waxy texture. New potatoes are excellent whilst used soon after harvest and organized by way of boiling, steaming or roasting.

Tips for Buying Potatoes

> When buying potatoes, select ones which might be firm, have clean skins and are with none sprouts or blemishes. Avoid potatoes with wrinkled skins, sprouted eyes, cut surfaces, tender or darkish spots, decayed regions (normally at the ends), or sunken spots.

> If feasible, buy potatoes which are fairly easy but unwashed. Potatoes which have been washed will spoil faster.

> Avoid purchasing potatoes with a greenish tint or solid. This suggests that the potatoes have been uncovered to mild in the course of garage, which could produce a sour flavor and may be poisonous to a few human beings.

> Choose potatoes that have a heavy feel and are uniform in length and shape. They will prepare dinner in approximately the same time and could be easier to peel.

How to Store Potatoes

> Store potatoes in a nicely-ventilated cool, dry, dark area together with a groovy closet or dry basement (never below the kitchen sink).

> When saved between 45F to 50F (7C to 10C), potatoes will keep for numerous weeks. If saved at room temperature or in a heat region, potatoes will stay at pinnacle high-quality for handiest approximately 1 week.

> Do now not shop potatoes within the refrigerator. The starch will start to alternate to sugar and alter the flavor; the potatoes may even flip dark after cooking.

> It is quality now not to shop potatoes near onions.

Tips for Preparing Potatoes

> To clean potatoes, soak in brief in cool water to loosen the dirt and make scrubbing easier. Scrub gently underneath going for walks water with a vegetable brush or sponge; trim away any eyes or blemishes.

> Always be certain to eliminate any sprouts or eyes while peeling potatoes and if a potato seems green below the pores and skin, peel it deeply to dispose of the green component…That green element may want to possibly make you ill.

> To save you potatoes from turning darkish, cook at once after peeling or cover with water and add a small quantity of salt, lemon juice or vinegar.

> When preparing French fries, soak reduce potatoes in gently salted chilled water for approximately 1 hour to do away with some of the starch and bring crisper fries.

> Use cooked (no longer raw) potatoes while creating a potato dish in advance to save you the potatoes from discoloring. Consider cooking the combination till almost completed, cool and refrigerate; whole cooking just earlier than serving.

> Potatoes and dishes with potatoes do not freeze properly due to their tendency to grow to be soft when thawed and reheated. Partially cooked French fries, mashed potato patties and baked stuffed potatoes may be frozen.

Potato Yields

Three medium potatoes equals about 1 pound, so that it will yield:

* 2 cups French fried potatoes

* 2 cups mashed potatoes

* 2-half cups peeled and diced potatoes

* 3 cups peeled and sliced potatoes

* 2 cups potato salad

* 2-half cups shredded potatoes

Basic Methods of Cooking Potatoes

Baked in Oven – Select and scrub potatoes of similar length. Prick each numerous times with a fork to permit steam to escape even as baking and to prevent the skins from bursting. If a smooth skin is preferred, rub with cooking oil earlier than baking. Place potatoes on a baking sheet permitting room among potatoes for heat stream or stand them upright in a muffin tin. (If potatoes are wrapped in aluminum foil and baked, they’ll have greater of a steamed texture.) A medium-length (6 oz..) potato will bake in 40 to forty five minutes in a 425F (220C) oven or in approximately 90 minutes at 350F (175C). When baking numerous potatoes, remember the fact that a dozen will cook in the identical quantity of time as a unmarried potato. To reduce cooking time, slice potatoes in half lengthwise, coat cut side with cooking oil and location reduce-aspect-down on a baking sheet. Half of a medium potato may be fork-tender in 25 to 30 minutes while cooked in a 375F (190C) oven. To check for doneness, keep potato with a hot pad and pinch with palms or pierce with a fork. To serve, use a small knife to reduce a go on pinnacle and push on aspects and ends gently to fluff.

Baked in Microwave – Choose four medium (6 ounces. Every) slim potatoes of similar size. Scrub clean then pierce each potato with a fork 10 to twelve instances. Cover backside of microwave oven with a double thickness of paper towels. Arrange potatoes in a ‘spoke-style’ with the smaller ends closer to the center and at the least 1 inch aside. Cook on ‘high’ (100% strength) in a seven hundred-watt microwave oven for 10 to 12 mins. Rearrange and turn over after first 5 mins. Remove from microwave and wrap each individually in aluminum foil. Let stand for five to ten minutes or until uniformly smooth when pinched between arms. When cooking a single potato, microwave on ‘excessive” for two mins, flip over, cook dinner for some other 2 mins and take a look at for doneness. Add 2 to a few mins cooking time for each extra potato.

Boiled on Stovetop – Scrub, peel and region potatoes. Place potatoes in a saucepan and add sufficient water to cowl; upload half of teaspoon of salt for each quart of water. Cover and convey to a boil over high warmth. Reduce heat and simmer till potatoes are fork-tender (approximately 15 to 20 minutes). Remove from warmness and drain. Return to low heat and shake pan until potatoes are dry. Be cautious not to overcook potatoes or they’ll grow to be watery. One or two slices of onion may be introduced to water whilst boiling potatoes to feature taste.

Boiled in Microwave – Scrub, peel and area four medium (6 oz.. Each) potatoes; location in a shallow microwave-secure baking dish. Add 1/4 cup of water and cowl. Cook on ‘excessive’ (one hundred% power) in a 700-watt microwave oven for 10 mins. Stir after first 5 mins to arrange portions and to transport the ones within the middle to the outside edges of the baking dish; keep to prepare dinner for closing five mins. Remove baking dish from the microwave and permit stand for 3 minutes (covered) or till potatoes attain favored doneness.

French Fried – Scrub and peel potatoes. Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices with a knife or crinkle cutter, then reduce slices into 1/four-inch thick strips. Place potato strips in a bowl of cool water. Add a small quantity of salt to the water to prevent discoloration. Soak up to at least one hour to put off some of the starch and keep crispness. Heat four to 6 inches of cooking oil to 375F (190C) in a deep-fryer or heavy saucepan. (Important: Do no longer overfill fryer or saucepan with oil.) Drain potatoes from water and pat dry with paper towels. Place a handful of potato strips in a cord basket and slowly immerse within the hot oil. Cook till golden brown and soft (about 5 mins). Shake basket once in a while while frying to save you potato strips from sticking together. Drain on numerous layers of paper towels. Continue to cook small batches until all strips are fried. Sprinkle gently with salt to prevent fries from turning into soggy and maintain warn in a 300F (150C) oven till served.

Grilled – Scrub potatoes of comparable size and coat pores and skin with cooking oil or tender butter. Place every potato in the middle of a double layer of heavy-obligation aluminum foil (cut into approximately 6×9-inch pieces). Season each gently with salt and pepper. Bring the longer sides of foil collectively, then fold the rims several instances to seal, allowing area for steam. Fold up quick edges of foil and pinch collectively to seal. Place foil-wrapped potatoes on a grill approximately 4 inches above medium-warm coals. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes or until soft, turning several times. Cooking time may also want to be adjusted according to potato length and warmth of the coals.

Hash Browned or Home Fried – Prepare steamed or boiled potatoes; drain. Dice or slice into 1/4- to 3/8-inch thick portions. Place in a big blending bowl and gently stir in optionally available substances together with chopped onion or diced cooked ham, if favored. Lightly season with salt and pepper; set apart. Generously grease a big skillet (ideally with a ‘non-stick’ finish) with several tablespoons of cooking oil, shortening or strained bacon fat. Place skillet over medium-excessive warmness and upload pro potatoes; toss gently to coat all pieces. Lightly toss potatoes often at some stage in cooking (do not flatten with a spatula). Cook till potatoes are golden brown (approximately 10 to 15 mins). Additional fats can be wished throughout cooking to save you sticking. Season cooked potatoes to flavor with extra salt and pepper before serving.

Mashed – Prepare peeled and diced potatoes by way of the boiling or steaming technique; drain well. Mash potatoes the usage of a potato masher, electric powered mixer or ricer till no lumps continue to be. For every pound of potatoes, progressively upload 1/4 to half of cup heat milk and a couple of tablespoons of butter or margarine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Beat potatoes with a timber spoon, whisk or electric mixer till mild and fluffy (additional milk may be delivered to convey potatoes to desired consistency.) Do no longer over beat or the starch will destroy down and potatoes turns into gummy. If potatoes are not to be served right away, spoon into an oven-evidence casserole or baking dish, dot with extra butter, cowl and keep heat in a preheated 250F (120C) oven.

Pan Roasted – Partially boil or steam peeled potatoes, cooking for best 10 minutes till potatoes are barely tender; drain. Arrange potatoes in a baking dish and generously coat with melted butter or margarine. Bake (uncovered) in a 400F (200C) oven for 40 to 45 minutes or till fork-tender. Frequently turn and baste potatoes with extra butter as they prepare dinner. Potatoes can be seasoned with salt, pepper, parsley or different herbs earlier than serving.

Riced – Boil or steam peeled potatoes; drain. Force potatoes thru a potato ricer or food mill. Add melted butter or margarine to riced potatoes and serve right away. Riced potatoes can be used to prepare mashed potatoes (see ‘Mashed Potatoes’ method above).

Steamed – Scrub and peel potatoes. Use a steamer or wire rack on the bottom of a large saucepan. Add enough water to simply attain the bottom of the rack and convey to a boil over excessive warmth. Add potatoes, cover tightly and cook dinner until fork-gentle. Cooking time could be approximately similar to when boiling potatoes. (Note: New potatoes are specifically proper steamed. After gently scrubbing potatoes smooth, peel a thin strip from around the middle of every potato to save you the skins from bursting while steaming. Cooking time will be about 15 mins – be cautious no longer to overcook.)

One Potato, Two Potato…

The potato is a particularly cheaper vegetable, low in energy, a terrific source of fiber (especially the peel) and a virtual “storehouses” of vitamins and minerals. It is very versatile and adapts nicely to many strategies of cooking.

It isn’t complex to discover ways to buy, store and select the proper sort of potato for a particular cooking method. There is a huge style of approaches that potatoes may be organized and an infinite variety of principal-dish, soup, salad, baked appropriate and facet-dish potato recipes. Since there are in reality no steadfast rules (simply pointers), try experimenting to find out which variety and cooking approach you in my view select.

Copyright ©2005 Janice Faulk Duplantis

Janice Faulk Duplantis, creator and publisher, presently maintains an internet web page that makes a speciality of both Easy Gourmet and French/Cajun Cuisine. Visit [http://www.Bedrockpress.Com] to look all Bedrock Press has to offer. Janice also publishes 4 unfastened monthly ezines: Gourmet Bytes,