What’s in Season: Potatoes

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By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

History:
Similar to tomatoes, when potatoes were first brought to Europe people believed them to be poisonous because they were part of the misunderstood nightshade family. Of course, today we know that potatoes are not only delicious; they are also healthy and contain high levels of vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium and fiber.

Selecting:
When selecting potatoes, make sure they are firm, relatively smooth and don’t have too many soft or dark spots. It’s also a good idea to avoid any potatoes that have started to sprout or look a little green. Although many grocery stores offer potatoes in bulk, it’s a good idea to buy them individually so you can inspect each one.

Storing:
Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark, dry and well-ventilated place (approximately 45ºF- 50ºF). They should not be stored in the refrigerator because their high starch content will begin to turn to sugar. Do not expose potatoes to direct sunlight which will turn them green and make them bitter. And, be sure to check your potatoes regularly, removing any that have spoiled or sprouted as they will affect the rest of the bunch. When potatoes have been stored correctly, you can expect them to last up to two months!

Yield:
1 pound potatoes = 4 cups diced =1 ¾ cups mashed

Substitutions:
Parsnips (for stews, soups and are also delicious mashed)
Cassava, Yucca or Jicama (for mashing or baking)
Rutabaga, Cauliflower or Jerusalem Artichoke (for mashing)
Sweet Potatoes (for browning faster)

Most Common Varieties:

imageRusset: Potatoes with a high starch content, like russets, bake well, yield light and fluffy mashed potatoes and are good added to soups and stews.

imageReds: Potatoes with low starch content, like red-skinned potatoes, hold their shape after cooking, and are great for making potato salads and scalloped potatoes. New Potatoes are immature potatoes harvested during the spring and summer. As in New Red Potatoes, they are not a separate variety, but just a younger version.

imageFingerlings: Fingerling potatoes have a woodsy complex flavor. They are often used in dishes that showcase their small size and quick cooking times. They are usually eaten whole, skin and all, as the skin is very thin and tender. Fingerlings are great roasted or broiled and are perfect for potato salads.

imagePurple Peruvians: Purple potatoes offer a bold flavor when added to a dish. Purples are excellent for making colorful potato salad and can be deep fried to make beautiful lavender colored chips. For added flavor and texture, add purples to soups and stews.

The potato really is one of the most delicious, comforting and versatile foods you can eat. So now let us ask you that same question again…If you were stranded on a deserted island and could take only one vegetable with you, what would you take?

 

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Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:

54321

My husband is a potatoe eater and this might be different for him. also loves potatoe salad. So going to try this. thank you helenkeeler

By HelenKeeler on September 17, 2013

54321

I Have a question. How many pounds of potatoes (mashed) for 25 or 30 guests? Also what kind of potatoes are best for mashed potatoes?

By Nancy Lorraine on November 03, 2011

54321

I love your three cheese articoke dip. I long would I cook it in a crockpot or a bread bowl. This dip is GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By Connie Anderson on September 28, 2011

54321

Potatoes are my weakness,I would rather eat a potato, fixed any way than candy or cakes!! My husband thinks I am crazy!!!!

By Sharon on September 27, 2011

54321

Potatoes are my all time favorite food! So many things can be done with them! My husband commented that I would eat a potato when I wouldn't eat anything else. I never thought about that before, but I think he's right!

By Anonymous on September 27, 2011

paula, can you freeze potatoes, they do in the stores when you buy french fries, why not when you buy one and get one free, that to much for the two of us to eat up before they go bad!!

By janet miller on October 17, 2010

Being Irish, I also love potatoes.  However, I never cared for yukon gold.  Something about their texture I didn’t care for. I roast potatoes in o.oil and garlic alot, easy and delicious.  I was always a fan of baked potatoes and my favorite part was the skins! Also make baked stuffed potatoes.  Dill is a great herb to use in potato salads as well as soups.

By Jean Mearin on September 08, 2010

You forgot about good ole white potatoes that are great for everything.  Also yellow potatoes such as Keuka Gold, Lehigh and Yukon Gold are also good choices.

By Karen on September 07, 2010

I HONESTLY AGREE WITH YOU PAULA.THERE’S NOTHING MORE FILLING AND SATISFYING THAN POTATOES.THAT IS ALWAYS MY GO TO SIDE DISH.

By Judith Darby on September 07, 2010

peel the skins off russet potato
wash rinse and pat dry
add alittle salt to each
mixed grated cheese and baked in oven at 350 for about 10 minutes til cheese melts
makes a great snack

By athena on September 07, 2010

i love cutting a potato in half.bake it til done
scoop out the insides.layer the bottom with a spoon ful of baked beans. mixed the potato mixture with grated cheese of your chose. spoon on top of beans. add a little parmesean cheese on top and put back in oven until cheese is melted about 10 min

By athena on September 07, 2010

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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 9:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 7:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 3:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 10:03 pm