What’s in Season: Potatoes

  • Pin It
  • print
  • email to a friend
By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

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.

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.

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!

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

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?


Read More From What's in Season.

You May Also Like These Blogs:

You May Also Like These Recipes:

Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:


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


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


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


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


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


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

Paula Deen
Paula Deen
The Lady's Blog
The Queen of Southern Cuisine muses about her recipes, life and family. See Posts

Brooke Deen
Brooke Deen
Deen Mother
Advice on raising two boys (three counting Jamie). See Posts

Brandon Branch
Brandon Branch
Southern Style
Decorating Inspiration from Paula's Design Director. See Posts

Julia Sayers
Julia Sayers
Hot off the Press
Step behind the pages and let the Associate Editor of Cooking with Paula Deen fill you in on what goes into creating every issue. See Posts

Lisa Scarbrough
Lisa Scarbrough
Thrift Store Mommy
Mom on a dime advice from Paula's Digital Properties Manager. See Posts

Andrea Goto
Andrea Goto
Mom 2.0
Tips from a real-world mom with comedic tendencies. See Posts

Martha Lee
Martha Lee
Earth Mother
Practical, earth-conscious ways to live and parent in the 21st century. See Posts

Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Bubbles' Corner
Ideas and advice from a 21st Century young at heart Grandmother. See Posts

Cindy Edwards
Cindy Edwards
Southern Proper
Etiquette advice from a true Southern belle. See Posts


Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm