Red Potato Shown
How to select for best flavor:
Potatoes are marketed as “new,” meaning immature, and “old,” meaning mature. You should first decide which you want based on what you will use them for.
New potatoes — good for steaming, boiling and potato salad. They should be firm, well-shaped and of a fairly uniform size. A little skinning or peeling of the outer skin is fine and will not affect the flavor.
Old potatoes — good for baking, mashing, French fries, et cetera. Choose firm, dry potatoes that are well-shaped with no skinning or sprouting.
Green potatoes have been exposed to too much light. Avoid them. They usually have a bitter taste.
Peak of the season:
Potatoes can be grown over a very long season. They also store extremely well. For these reasons, they are available all year at a fairly consistent price.
Potatoes are a nearly perfect food. They have a fairly small protein content, but the protein is highly usable by your body. They are high in vitamins C and B complex. They are also high in carbohydrate, calcium, potassium and phosphorous. The calorie and fat content will depend on how the potato is cooked. One large baked potato has about 220 calories, no fat and 16 mgs. of sodium.
There are several varieties of potato. Some of the more common ones are:
Russet — these are the common dusty-brown potatoes that are good just about any way they are cooked. The meat is rich and white. The large ones are sold as baking potatoes.
Yellow Finn — these are yellowish, fairly shiny potatoes. The meat is yellowish-orange and has a fairly strong flavor and a grainy texture.
Red Potatoes — these are shiny, red potatoes with clear white meat. They have a delicious light flavor and are especially good steamed.
Purple Potatoes — these are fairly rare, although they are becoming more available from Washington state. They have a dark-blue color and a good potato flavor. They add an unexpected bit of color to your plate.
Potatoes should be stored in a dry, cool, dark place. They should not be refrigerated. They will last for three or four weeks.