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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
All potatoes are the same some might say, but actually there are many varieties of
potatoes to use in your cooking. They are one vegetable that most people love to eat
and everyone has their favorite way to eat them. Baked, mashed, au gratin, in salads,
fried, or just as skins, potatoes can be cooked a hundred ways. Anyone can prepare
potatoes; you just have to know which type of potato to buy.
There are three main classifications of potatoes – starchy, waxy and all purpose.
Knowing what they are best used for will arm you with the information you need to
choose the type potato to use in your cooking.
Starchy potatoes include russets, the classic Idaho, and many sweet potatoes. They
are high in starch and low in moisture. Idaho Russet potatoes are russet-skinned with
white flesh. They’re what we typically imagine when we think of potatoes. They have
a neutral potato flavor, a fluffy, creamy and soft texture, and are best for baking,
mashing and making French fries. They’re very absorbent, but don’t make a good potato
salad, au gratins, or any dish that requires the potatoes to hold their shape, because
they will soften and fall apart.
Waxy potatoes such as red-skinned and fingerling potatoes are great for soups and
salads because they hold their shape well during cooking. They don’t do well as mashed
potatoes as they tend to get pasty and don’t result in a good texture. Red skin and
fingerling potatoes can be found at the Gateway Farmers Market, where you can visit
with the farmers who grow them and get cooking tips.
Red Bliss potatoes have bright red skin with creamy white flesh. They’re slightly
bitter, and have a firm, moist and waxy texture. They’re best for soups, stews, boiling,
roasting, potato salad and casseroles. Don’t try them for mashing as they tend to
get pasty and don’t result in a good texture.
Fingerlings are two to three inches long and are thin, finger-shaped with thin, buff-yellow
skin and light yellow flesh. They are available in local supermarkets and have a mild,
nutty and earthy flavor, and firm texture. They’re great for boiling, baking, roasting
and potato salads, and since they are waxy, they are bad for soups.
New potatoes are any type of potato that’s harvested young, before its sugars have
fully converted to starch. They’re small and round with thin skin, and depending on
the type, they may vary in color. They’re sweet, firm, creamy and very waxy. Use them
for boiling, steaming, roasting or in soups, but don’t use them for baking
All-purpose potatoes include Yukon Gold, blue, and purple potatoes. Yukon Gold potatoes
have yellowish-white skin with light yellow, almost golden flesh. They are slightly
sweet, with a smooth, almost waxy texture and moist flesh. They’re great for boiling,
baking and making French fries. They’ll also stand up well to grilling, pan frying
In the supermarket I saw beautiful Purple Peruvian potatoes with a deep purple skin.
Once cut open, their flesh may match their exterior or be marbled. They’re earthy
and slightly nutty, with an almost buttery aftertaste. They have a dry and starchy
texture. These all-purpose potatoes are best for boiling, baking, roasting, frying
and grilling, although they should work in all dishes and preparations.
Whether you are choosing starchy, waxy or all purpose, choose clean, firm, smooth
potatoes that are not green in color and don’t have sprouts. Reject potatoes with
large cuts, cracks, bruises, decay, sprouting eyes or shriveling.
Store them in a cool, dark place with good ventilation for up to 1 month. Discard
any that are shriveled or sprouted. Don’t store potatoes in the refrigerator; this
favors the accumulation of sugar, giving the potato a sweet flavor and dark color
By paying more attention to this humble root vegetable, you are loaded with information
to choose the best variety for what you need. You can even chat with the farmers at
our farmers market about different varieties they have available and get them fresh
from the garden.
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or
visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at firstname.lastname@example.org,
on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaDueHadley, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or
on the web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller.
Red Potatoes with Garlic Dill Sauce
8 medium red potatoes with skins on, washed well, and cubed
3 tablespoons margarine, melted
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
Steam potatoes in a steamer basket, for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are fork
tender. In a small bowl, stir together margarine, dill, garlic, and salt. Transfer
the potatoes to a serving bowl, and cover with garlic dill sauce. Toss gently until
well coated. Serve warm or cold.
By Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 email@example.com
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.