Extra Helpings: Picking the Perfect Potato
Shelly asks: I used regular baking potatoes for my potato salad and they basically turned into mush. Are certain potatoes better for certain recipes?
Most of us learn the hard way (or I should say the mush way?) that you can’t use the same type of potato for every recipe. But you should still use the same criteria when you go about selecting potatoes for whatever you’re making:
1. Potatoes should be smooth and they should all be about the same shape and size so they’ll cook evenly.
2. Pass up potatoes that have bad spots, wrinkled skins, cuts, bruises or green coloring.
3. Store fresh potatoes in a cool, dark place… NOT the refrigerator.
Each variety of potato has a “best way” to cook it. Here’s some guidance to help you decide which one you’ll need for a particular recipe:
Bake, mash, French fry, roast
Boil, steam, roast, sauté, soups, salads, scalloped and au gratin
Boil, steam mash, French fry, roast, soups, salads, au gratin
Mash, steam, bake, boil, roast, French Fry
Boil, steam, bake
Boil, bake, steam
We tend to think of potatoes as villains when it comes to healthy eating. Potatoes aren’t the bad guys, it’s the oil they’re fried in or the sour cream and cheese that they’re topped with... and that has less to do with the potato and more to do with the person eating it!
Potatoes are rich in vitamin C and potassium and loaded with soluble and insoluble fiber (which keeps the digestive tract working and slows down digestion so you feel full longer). A medium baked potato only has 161 calories!
Tomorrow, a yummy delish recipe for your next picnic: All-American Potato Salad (hey, summer’s not over yet!)
(A big shout out to my pals at the United States Potato Board and the Washington State Potato Commission!)
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