Sunday, January 18, 2015

DIY -- Basic Cooking Potatoes

Now, don't scrunch your face up and say "Carbs."
Do some real research on Carbs and you'll see that they are unjustly maligned.
So are potatoes.
This post is not about that, it's about which potatoes to use for what.

Types and uses
White potatoes -- usually large and bumpy with a dull brown skin.  Soups, stews, French fries.
Russet potatoes -- long and slightly bumpy.  Baked potatoes, latkes, starch for laundry, and Boardwalk Fries.
Red potatoes -- usually small with a distinctly red skin.  The little ones are perfect for potato salad and home fries.  The large ones are perfect for mashed potatoes.
Golden potatoes -- these are usually more expensive than the other kinds so I avoid them.  YMMV.

You can mix and match the type of potato and what you're cooking.  But red potatoes mush in soup and russet potatoes are floury and will dissolve.  That's why they make good starch: they dissolve in water.

How to treat potatoes right.

Try to get potatoes with no green patches on the skin.
NEVER buy the russets that are pre-plastic wrapped.  You can pop these straight in the microwave, but they're 2-3 times more expensive per weight than large bags of russets or loose unbagged russets.  These are another thing that people only buy when they are spending their way into the poorhouse.
NEVER put potatoes in the fridge; store them in a dry place, preferably cool, but not cold.
ALWAYS open the plastic bag.  If you don't, the potatoes will give off moisture and are prone to rot.  There's hardly anything that smells worse than a rotting potato.  Potatoes are also more likely to rot in hot humid summer weather, so don't buy plastic bags full unless you feed a lot of people.  Buy a few loose potatoes at a time.
Make sure and dig out the eyes and the little sprouts that are sometimes in them before cooking.
And those are the basics about potatoes.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

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