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Potato Varieties

A sack of potato on a rustic background.

There are several varieties of potatoes to choose from, including russets, reds, yellows, whites, purples, fingerlings, and petites. As a versatile food, potatoes are ideal for meal prepping and serve as a great fuel if you work out regularly. They can be prepared in 30 minutes or less using only a few nutritious ingredients. Potatoes are available in more than 200 types in the United States. There are seven distinct types of potatoes: russet, red, white (yellow), blue/purple, fingerling, and petite potatoes. Commercial kitchens rely on potatoes because of their versatility. In fact, for many eaters, a meal isn’t complete without a steaming plate of potatoes. A multitude of potato options might make determining the best cooking method for a given potato challenging.

Here are some of the most popular potato varieties:

Russets

A sack of Russets potato.

Varieties like Butte, with its hard-brown exterior and pale white flesh, are found in the drier end of the textural spectrum. To produce a suitable “jacket” for the fluffy interior, the thick skin crisps up when baked. This type of potato is easy to mash and may be used in a variety of cooking methods. Soups and stews, on the other hand, will disintegrate them.

White Potatoes

White potatoes, like Onaway and Elba, have smoother, thinner, and lighter-colored skin than russets do. All-purpose potatoes, because they bake up creamy but retain their texture when they’re cooked in water. White potatoes are a safe bet if you’re not sure what kind of potatoes to use in a dish.

Waxy Potatoes

A bunch of Waxy potato, close up shot.

Fine-grained and dense, they retain their shape when cooked. Yukon Gold is a popular variation. These potatoes can be used in a variety of dishes, including potato salad, soups, and stews. This includes Carola potatoes as well.

Potatoes that come in a Variety of Colors

Potatoes that have red/pink or purple/blue flesh are just as easy to cultivate in your garden like any other potato, and they’re a lot of fun to harvest, cook and eat. The skin and flesh of All-Blue have a dark purple-blue color. Because it has a mealy texture, it works well in baked goods. When baked, microwaved, or fried, All-Blues retain their color best; when boiled, the flesh turns a grayish-blue. Known as All-Crimson or Cranberry Red because of its red exterior and pink meat, All-Red is perfect for boiling and sautéing since it has a solid structure that keeps its shape. When it comes to baked goods, Red Cloud is the best potato for the job.

Fingerling Potatoes

Fingerling potatoes, like the Russian Banana, are little and elongated, much like their name suggests. It is fortunate that they have a thin, tender skin (which would have been difficult to peel) because they are excellent roasted. Small potatoes can be boiled whole, with their skins intact; this means they don’t absorb as much water as chunky potatoes, making them ideal for salads.

Potatoes that have just been harvested

The term “fresh potatoes” refers to potatoes that are picked early in the summer before the vines have died back. Various kinds are permissible. When they’re boiled in butter and parsley, their skin is delicately pliable. Mature potatoes have a longer shelf life.

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Because of its versatility, the Yukon Gold potato is one of the most popular potato cultivars. Mashed Yukon Golds have a buttery, sweet flavor and a thin gold skin that doesn’t require peeling before mashing. There is no need to be concerned about the results when cooking these gold potatoes. Yukon’s are a popular choice for restaurants and commercial kitchens because of their versatility.

Kennebec Potatoes

The Kennebec potato is often regarded as the greatest frying potato by many chefs. It’s usual to see the Kennebec name on the menu because they feel so strongly about it. A description of the potato’s attributes may appear alongside Kennebec fries on a menu instead of French fries. Indeed, Kennebec’s have a distinct flavor and are the perfect blend of starchiness and wetness for a crispy golden fry.

Butterball Potatoes from Germany

A yellow potato with a medium round form, the German Butterball is a popular choice in Germany. If you look at the texture of the skin, you can tell a German Butterball from other yellow kinds like Yukon Gold. German Butterballs have a flaky exterior with a fine webbing covering the entire potato, which gives them their name. The German Butterball potato is an excellent all-purpose potato with a buttery flavor that can be used in practically any recipe.

Red Thumb Potatoes

The scarlet exterior and creamy pink flesh of the Red Thumb potato make it a unique fingerling variety. Fingerlings, as the name implies, are long and tubular-like fingers. It is possible to roast the whole thing and serve it as a side dish to a main dish or salad. In restaurants, the Red Thumb is a popular choice because of its attractive, pink-marbled flesh. Because of their size and form, Red Thumb fingerlings are not suitable for mashing or deep frying.

Russian Banana Potato

The golden flesh and curving, crescent shape of the Russian Banana potato give it its name. You don’t need to peel this waxy fingerling potato and can roast or boil it whole for potato salads. The sweet, buttery flavor and unusual shape make it a popular culinary choice. Russian Banana fingerlings are not the greatest choice for preparing mashed potatoes or deep frying because of their high sugar content.

The Purple Peruvian Potato

The Purple Peruvian potato shows that fingerling potato types can be developed with the same qualities as other kinds. The skin and meat of this potato are both purple and thin, like a fingerling potato. Unlike most other fingerlings, this violet tuber has a dry, starchy flesh that’s frequently likened to a Russet potato. Purple Peruvians can be mashed or fried because of this.

Sweet Potatoes from Japan

Sweet potato on a wooden table.

With a dark red or purple exterior, this sweet potato contains pale flesh that cooks to a buttery yellow color. Crispy on the outside but mushy in the middle, the Japanese sweet potato has a higher starch content than other sweet potatoes. Like roasted chestnuts, it’s sweet and nutty, with a dense texture that’s like thick pudding. This type of sweet potato is popular street food in Japan during the fall and winter months.

Hannah Sweet Potato

Because of their density and consistency, Hannah sweet potatoes are more stable than other sweet potato kinds. Soups, stews, and stir-fries can all benefit from the addition of diced or cubed celery. Cooking time is greater for the firmer species of sweet potatoes since they are so dense

Jewel Yams

Make no mistake about it; this sweet potato is not a yam. It’s not really a yam at all, in fact. Sweet potatoes are called “yams” in this instance because they’re softer than normal sweet potatoes. When cooked, the Jewel yam’s starchy flesh softens and turns juicy. Bake and mash this sweet potato, but avoid dicing for stir-fries or soups, which require the tuber to maintain its shape.

Astonishing Potato Facts You Didn’t Know

  • Only the mineral molybdenum is missing from a daily diet containing eight pounds of potatoes and one gallon of vitamin D-fortified milk for the normal human body.
  • A substance found in high concentrations in the green parts of potatoes is solanine. It causes a variety of unpleasant symptoms when consumed in big numbers. The rest of the potato is perfectly okay to eat once you trim away any discolored parts. Solanine poisoning from potatoes has not been recorded in the United States for at least the past 50 years.
  • There are around 126 pounds of potatoes consumed by the average American each year. There are just 44 pounds of fresh produce in those 126 pounds; the rest are frozen, dried, or packaged as potato chips. When it comes to per capita consumption, the average Belarusian consumes about 400 pounds of potatoes each year.
  • In addition to being low in calories, a medium-sized unadorned, skin-on potato provides more potassium than a banana, half the daily amount of vitamin C, and contains no fat, sodium, or cholesterol.
  • In the United Kingdom, potato crisps are referred to as chips. The British use the term ‘chips’ to refer to what we call French fries.
  • The starches in potatoes are converted to sugars when refrigerated, giving them an off-flavor.
  • The vitamin C content of yellow potatoes is higher than that of white potatoes.
  • Blue potatoes contain anthocyanin, which is known to be an anti-inflammatory agent.
  • Potatoes are used in the production of several vodkas.