Sunday, March 08, 2009

Do you have a favourite potato?

When Kila commented, on one of my recent posts, that she had never heard of *floury potatoes* I thought I would research and found this useful or not information on a Waitrose link:

POTATOES

Potatoes were first introduced to Ireland, and then to Britain, from America in the late 16th century and are now one of the most popular staple foods in the world. They are a valuable source of nutrition, particularly for their vitamin C, carbohydrate and fibre content, especially when they are cooked and eaten in their skins. Varieties such as King Edward and Maris Piper are best eaten this way. Varieties such as Desiree, Wilja and Estima are good all-round cooking potatoes.

Potatoes are generally divided into two categories - waxy or floury (see below), if you are unsure of the variety of potato you have and want to know before cooking, mix one part salt to 11 parts water in a measuring jug and add the potato. A floury one will almost always sink to the bottom of the jug, while a waxy one will float.
Seasonal availability: Different varieties are available at different times of the year.

Uses: Potatoes are extremely versatile and can be boiled, steamed, baked, roasted, fried and mashed.

To store: It is essential that potatoes are stored in a cool, dark area away from sunlight and in a frost-free, airy place preferably in a brown paper sack. If potatoes are exposed to light they may turn green (which can be poisonous) or start sprouting. Small amounts of green can be removed but very green potatoes should be discarded. Do take potatoes out of the plastic bag that they are usually sold in - the potatoes are likely to go mouldy if kept in plastic. Potatoes should not be stored in the fridge. New potatoes should be eaten within 2-3 days of purchase, while old potatoes can, if stored correctly be kept for several months.

Cara potatoes

These short oval to round shaped potatoes have a white skin with a creamy coloured flesh and pink eyes. Cara potatoes have a soft moist and waxy texture.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Suitable for baking, mashing, boiling or roasting.
To prepare: Scrub thoroughly under cold running water or peel.

Carlingford new potatoes

With a white skin and white flesh, these potatoes have a firm waxy texture and are round to oval in shape. Buy and use new potatoes within 3 days for the best flavour.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Suitable for boiling, salads and wedges.
To prepare: Scrub thoroughly under cold running water.

Charlotte potatoes

These long oval potatoes have a firm waxy texture and a subtle nutty flavour. They have a light yellow skin and a yellow flesh.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Suitable for boiling, baking or salads.
To prepare: Scrub thoroughly under cold running water or peel.

Desiree potatoes

One of the most popular red-skinned potatoes Desirees have a smooth skin and a creamy yellow flesh. They have a firm texture.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Especially good cooked as wedges or roasted, because they hold their shape. Also suitable for boiling, mashing and chipping.
To prepare: Scrub thoroughly under cold running water or peel.

Estima potatoes

A light yellow-skinned potato with a firm, moist texture and a mild flavour. They are usually oval-shaped with a yellowy flesh.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Boiling, mashing and especially good for baking.
To prepare: Peel and chop for boiling and chipping or scrub thoroughly for baking.

Floury potatoes

A type rather than a variety, floury potatoes are especially popular in Britain. They are suitable for baking, mashing and chipping as they have a soft, dry texture when cooked. They are not suitable for boiling, however because they tend to disintegrate. Popular varieties of floury potato include King Edward and Maris Piper.

Jersey royal new potatoes

Grown exclusively on the island of Jersey, new potatoes are cultivated in carefully nurtured soils that benefit from Jersey 'vraic', a seaweed collected from the island's golden beaches and used as a natural fertiliser. Deliciously fresh, these potatoes have thin, papery skins and a distinctive flavour. Buy them frequently in small quantities to guarantee freshness.
Seasonal availability: March to the end of June.
Uses: Enjoy them simply boiled and tossed in melted butter. They are also good served cold as part of a salad.
To prepare: Wash off the loose soil and cook with their skins on in a pan of slightly salted boiling water with a sprig of mint.

Kerr's Pink potatoes


With a pink skin and creamy white flesh, these rounded potatoes have a mealy, floury texture when cooked. Kerr's Pink potatoes tend to have quite deep eyes.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Mash or roast for best results.
To prepare: Peel and wash thoroughly before cooking.

King Edward potatoes


King Edwards have pinky red skins and distinctively flavoured creamy white flesh that's packed with carbohydrates, fibre, iron and vitamins, including folate. Cooking them in their skins provides the most nutritional value.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Good for boiling, baking, chipping or roasting.
To prepare: Rinse in cold water and peel for boiling, chipping and roasting. If necessary, cut out any bruises or green parts.

Maris Peer baby new potatoes


With a creamy skin and flesh, short oval-shaped Maris Peer potatoes have a firm texture when cooked. Use new potatoes within 2-3 days of buying for the best flavour.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Suitable for chipping, boiling and salads.
To prepare: Rinse thoroughly in cold water and peel for chipping and boiling.

Marfona potatoes

A smooth waxy potato with a light beige to yellow skin and flesh. Marfona have a slightly sharp taste.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Ideal for baking and boiling.
To prepare: Scrub thoroughly for baking or peel and rinse thoroughly in cold water before cooking.

Maris Piper potatoes

Maris Piper potatoes have a light yellow skin and flesh and a mild pleasant taste. They have a firm texture when cooked.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Ideal for chipping, baking, roasting and boiling.
To prepare: Peel and rinse thoroughly in cold water before cooking.

Mr Bresee vintage potatoes


Small to medium red skinned potatoes with a floury almost powdery texture when cooked.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Best for boiling - either mash or serve whole with butter.
To prepare: Peel and rinse thoroughly in cold water before cooking.

New potatoes


These are available all year round and the different varieties encompass a range of skin and flesh colours. They are small, waxy, oval-shaped potatoes. Buy little and often for the best flavour.
Seasonal availability: All year. English from June to September.
Uses: Best boiled whole in their skins and delicious served warm or cold, with spring lamb, salmon and salads.
To prepare: Rinse in cold water and cook whole or sliced. To obtain the most nutritional value, leave their skins on. If preferred, remove the skin by gently rubbing it away with your fingers.
To cook: Place in a pan, add enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer gently for 20 minutes for whole potatoes, 15 minutes for sliced potatoes. Drain, add a knob of butter and serve.

Organic Sante potatoes

Sante potatoes have a dry and firm texture and are good all-rounders. They have a yellow skin and flesh and are a short oval shape.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Good for boiling, wedges, chipping and roasting.
To prepare: Rinse thoroughly in cold water and scrub or peel before cooking.

Organic Nicola new potatoes


Nicola potatoes have a creamy yellow skin with yellow flesh. They have a firm, waxy cooked texture.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Best for boiling or making potato salads.
To prepare: Rinse thoroughly in cold water and scrub before cooking.

Red Duke of York


With a light yellow flesh and a distinctive red skin these potatoes have a firm cooked texture.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Duke of York potatoes are best for boiling.
To prepare: Peel and rinse thoroughly in cold water before boiling.

Romano potatoes

A round to oval red skinned potato with a creamy coloured flesh and a soft, dry texture. Romano potatoes have a mild nutty flavour. The red skin tends to fade during cooking to an attractive pale rusty beige shade. Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Romanos are suitable for baking, roasting and mashing.
To prepare: Rinse thoroughly in cold water and scrub or peel before cooking.

Salad potatoes


Salad potatoes are great favourites all year round. These distinctive flavoured potatoes have a waxy, fleshy texture. They are an excellent source of carbohydrate as well as providing protein, fibre, iron and certain B vitamins including folate.
Seasonal availability: May to November.
Uses: Best boiled and served hot or cold.
To prepare: Wash the potatoes and place in a pan with enough water to cover them. To cook: Simmer, with a lid on, for 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain thoroughly and serve. To sauté, slightly cool the boiled potatoes and slice. Heat 2 tbsp oil and 25g butter together in a pan and fry for 10-12 minutes over a moderate heat until golden brown.

Shetland Black vintage potatoes

These unusual-looking potatoes have a dark purple skin and a yellow flesh with a dark purple ring inside. They are small-medium in size and have a fluffy, floury texture and their appearance makes them a popular choice for simply serving boiled with butter.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Best for baking or boiling.
To prepare: Wash and scrub the potatoes thoroughly before baking or boiling.

Sweet potatoes


They have a sweet flavour similar to that of roast chestnuts or squash. Although not related to ordinary potatoes, they can be prepared in similar ways. There are two types: the pale variety has a thin, light yellow skin and flesh while the darker one has thicker, dark orange skin and bright orange flesh.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Bake, mash or roast.
To store: Store in a cool, dark place and use within a week.
To prepare: Scrub, peel and slice or cut into chunks.
To cook: Cook in boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes until tender. Sweet potatoes can also be mashed or cooked as chips. Alternatively scrub the skins and bake them in their jackets.

Waxy potatoes


These are more solid than floury potatoes and hold their shape when boiled, but do not mash well. They are particularly suitable for baked and layered potato dishes such as Boulangère potatoes. Popular varieties include Cara and Charlotte.

Wilja potatoes

Originally developed in Holland this yellow fleshed variety is a good all-rounder. It has a slightly sweet taste and close waxy texture.
Seasonal availability: All year.
Uses: Boil, bake, chip or roast.
To prepare: Scrub or peel and cut into chunks.

I didn't realise there were so many varieties of potatoes and I admit there are some here I've never heard of, and they don't list one of my favourites Rooster Potatoes
I was surprised to see the Potato council list around 31 varieties of potatoes that are grown on Britain.

Also one of the best new Potatoes are the Cornish

I bet we all have our favourites. Recently I tried an economy pack which had no name and they were awful, took ages to cook and I didn't like the texture so I'm back to my usual varieties. I tend to use Desiree, Rooster or King Edward. So what 'is your favourite potato'?


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15 Comments:

At 8/3/09 09:42, Blogger WT said...

I like them all, but my favourites are the ones that are cut real thin and deep fried.

 
At 8/3/09 10:26, Blogger ChrisB said...

WT do you know I've never tried making those (I take it you mean like shop bought crisps)I deep fried other veg like that eg parsnips but I wasn't too successful.

 
At 8/3/09 11:17, Anonymous Grannymar said...

Ireland the land of the potato, we even provide the seed potatoes to Cyprus, and I have never come across half of those potato names in our shops!

 
At 8/3/09 11:17, Blogger MarmiteToasty said...

We LOVE sweet potatoes in this house and little new jersey potatoes boiled in there skins with lashings of butter and parsley :) oh and jacket spuds we adore oh and roastie crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside...... oh and homemade oven chips LOL....

Dam, I think its easier to say that we LOVE potatoes LOL

x

 
At 8/3/09 15:36, Anonymous jill said...

hmm we just have the basic russets and reds and sometimes a few golden colored ones around here. not much variety. and, why on earth were we told that the Irish left Ireland because of the potato famine to come to America, when I thought potatoes came from Ireland all along? interesting...

 
At 8/3/09 15:50, Blogger john.g. said...

A spud expert now!

 
At 8/3/09 16:24, Blogger Sam said...

the potatoes in America are not as varied as those I had in Britain. Of what is available to us we tend to favour the Russet and the Yukon Gold, they are less sweet than some of the others.

 
At 8/3/09 21:24, Blogger Beccy said...

I agree with Grannymar, there is not a huge choice of potato variety here in Ireland. I tend to buy Desiree.

 
At 8/3/09 22:20, Blogger karisma said...

Sweet potatoes are the best! Yummy! I think as far as normal spuds go, I prefer the Desiree variety. (They are a bit yellowy inside when cooked.) Im not a real big potato fan though. Prefer green vegies.

 
At 9/3/09 02:54, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Sam: Those farmers market potatoes are so oddly sweet! I favor the Yukon Golds and Russets too, and I'm a sucker for fingerlings and new potatoes, but I don't know their names. Mr. Little does; let's ask him.

Chris: What an amazing variety of taters available to you. Nice.

 
At 9/3/09 03:43, Blogger kitten said...

I like just about any kind of potato and cooked just about any way you can think of. My favorite potato is what we call the red potato.

 
At 9/3/09 18:34, Blogger the mother of this lot said...

Jersey royals for me. Edwards for mash and Maris Piper for chips!

 
At 9/3/09 22:21, Blogger Barbara said...

Crikey Chris I'm sure I've seen maybe three possibly 4 types in our shops. Great post.

 
At 10/3/09 07:15, Blogger Pamela said...

I had no idea there were that many.
My dad sometimes called them SPUDS or MURPHYS.

Washington State grows lots of potatoes. A few miles north of here there are huge partially underground potato houses.. or whatever they call them.

 
At 10/3/09 19:35, Blogger Ari_1965 said...

Generally, there are two types of potatoes in my big-chain supermarket in Minnesota: russets and white (or baking). Recently, there's been Yukon Gold, which have a light golden flesh and are very good.

There are always sweet potatoes, too, but if you said to me, "Buy a bag of potatoes," I would never dream that you meant sweet potatoes.

I absolutely adore baked sweet potatoes. They're sometimes labeled yams, although I believe yams and sweet potatoes are actually two different animals. My favorite is the red garnet yam. They are reddish on the outside and a red-orange on the inside.

The co-op has more varieties of potatoes, of course. But I've been too broke for months now to shop at the co-op.

 

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