7 types of potatoes | Living the Country Life

7 types of potatoes

November 15, 2012

The United States Potato Board, uspotatoes.com, visited our office this week and shared a bushel of information about this popular vegetable. I love to grow potatoes, and am eager to try a few new varieties in my garden next spring. I won the Largest Potato at the Warren County (Iowa) Fair this year, and want to win again. World domination!

Settle down.

Here are some facts about potato varieties from the Potato Board that you can use when planning your garden:

Fingerlings (my basket, shown below, is full of yellow "banana" fingerling potatoes. Top flavor, in my opinion.)
Encompassing a wide variety of small, slender “finger-sized” potatoes, Fingerlings range from two-to-four inches in length. They come in a wide range of skin and flesh colors – red, orange, purple, yellow and white – and most posses a firm, waxy texture. Pan-frying enhances their robust flavor and showcases their wonderful nutty or buttery tastes. Or try a twist on a traditional by using fingerlings for a truly unique potato salad.

Petites are small, even “bite-sized” potatoes and share the same characteristics – color, flavor and texture – as their full-sized cousins. Petites can be found in red, white, yellow, brown and purple. Their flavors are actually more concentrated, and they cook more quickly, which makes potato salads a favored use for these types. Petites also make colorful, delicious and fun roasted potatoes.

Relative newcomers to the market, purple potatoes have a deep purple skin with flesh that ranges from purple to almost white. The rich, vibrant color and luscious taste make tossed salads a favored use. The moist, firm flesh retains its shape and adds rich colors to the salads, while the mild yet distinctly nutty flavor naturally complements the green salad flavors. They are also sensational roasted.

This type, once only available in late summer and early fall, is widely known for its rosy red skin and white flesh. Its moist, waxy flesh stays firm and flavorful throughout cooking, making it ideal for roasting. The slightly sweet, always-tender texture complements any dish and the vibrant red skin adds appealing color to the culinary presentation. They make tender, yet firm potato salads and add pizzazz to soups and stews.

Russets are the most widely used potato type in the U.S., characterized by a brown, netted skin and white flesh. The delicious result of baking this type is a light and fluffy center, surrounded by a tasty, robust and crispy roasted skin. The delicate potato flavor and grainy texture of a baked russet makes it the ideal partner for a variety of toppings, as flavor infusions is so natural to this type. Russets also create light and fluffy mashed potatoes and traditional crispy, pan-fried potatoes.

This all-purpose potato type has a white flesh and white (sometimes light tan) skin. Mashing is one favored use. They are slightly dense and creamy with a subtly sweet flavor. Their delicate, thin skins add just the right amount of texture to mashed potatoes without the need for peeling. Also try grilling whites to bring out a more full-bodied flavor, or use them in soups and stews as they hold their shape well.

Well known through Europe and fast gaining popularity in the U.S., this type boasts golden skin and golden flesh. One favored use is grilling. Its crispy skin enhances the dense and buttery texture. Grilling brings out this quality best, dazzling the palate with a slightly sweet, caramelized flavor. That naturally smooth and buttery texture also lends itself well to lighter versions of baked or roasted potatoes.

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