Potatoes are America’s favorite vegetable. They feature in every meal of the day, from hash browns at breakfast and potato chips for snacks, to Rissole Potatoes with an elegant dinner.
Russet potatoes are the most widely used potatoes in America. The russet is a large, all-purpose potato with high starch and low moisture content. Its thick brown skin carries a net-like pattern (called “russeting,” hence its name) and its flesh is white. Baked russets have a light and fluffy texture, and they’re generally the potato of choice for French fries and gratins, too — but they tend to fall apart when cut and boiled for salads, soups or stews.
Red potatoes are medium-sized and distinguishable mainly by the color of their skins. Considered boiling potatoes, they’re great for pan-roasting, braising, grilling and mashing, too. Thin-skinned, with white, waxy flesh characterized by medium-to-low starch content, they have a moist, creamy texture when cooked.
Yellow potatoes have skins and flesh that range from yellow to gold. These are considered boiling potatoes because of their high moisture content. Their dense, creamy texture and buttery flavor makes them a popular choice for mashing.
Potatoes may be the ultimate comfort food, possibly the most versatile vegetable of all. Entire cookbooks have been written about them, and the industry has rushed to develop a wide spectrum of commercial products to facilitate ease of preparation and cooking. The possibilities for enjoying potatoes are endless.
Why choose organic potatoes?
- We believe that produce has more flavor when grown organically because of the health and vitality of the soil — and this is especially true of tubers like potatoes, which grow underground in constant contact with the soil.
- Potatoes are #10 on the Environmental Working Group's "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce," produce that’s been found to carry the most pesticide residues when grown conventionally. You can lower your dietary exposure to pesticides substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables, and choosing organic for those items instead.
- At Earthbound Farm, we grow our organic potatoes without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, using sustainable farming methods that protect the environment and help keep pesticides out of our soil, air, water and food supply. And we think organic potatoes taste better, too!
- WhatsOnMyFood.org from the Pesticide Action Network shows you searchable results for vegetables like potatoes and a wide range of other organic and conventional foods. It’s an easy-to-use and empowering tool for learning about pesticide residues and their health effects for all of us.
How to select and store potatoes
- Whatever type you choose, look for firm potatoes free of cracks and soft brown spots.
- Avoid potatoes with tinges of green, excessive eyes or sprouting, all of which are signs of age or improper storage. Green tints on potato skins are an indicator that the potatoes have been overexposed to light; such potatoes can contain a chlorophyll-induced alkaloid called solanine, which has a bitter taste and can be toxic if consumed in large quantities.
- Potatoes are perishable, but they shouldn’t be refrigerated. Store them in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place in a brown paper, perforated plastic or mesh bag. For the best flavor and texture, use them as soon as possible (or within 10 days to 2 weeks). The cooler your storage area (short of refrigeration), the longer the potatoes will last. Keep them away from onions and shallots; proximity to these vegetables will cause your potatoes to sprout. Immediately discard any potatoes that shrivel, soften, sprout or develop an unpleasant odor, as they can spoil your remaining spuds.
Tips for using potatoes
- Always wash potatoes thoroughly before using. A vegetable brush is handy for scrubbing off dirt.
- Peeling is optional, though the skin is the most nutritious part of the potato, containing most of its calcium, iron and fiber. Cut away any damage or bruises. Remove any sprouts or deep eyes with a sharp paring knife or the end of a vegetable peeler.
- A small amount of green discoloration just under the skin can be trimmed away, but discard the potato if the green extends into the flesh.
- Once cut, the flesh of a potato can oxidize or discolor; the speed with which this occurs varies depending on the variety. Discoloration doesn’t affect the potato’s taste, but it can be unattractive. To prevent it from happening, immerse peeled or cut potatoes in a bowl of ice water until you’re ready to cook them, for up to 2 hours.