General Information

Starchy potatoes (Idaho or Russet) make the best baked and mashed potatoes and good fries. Low starch potatoes (like “new” potatoes) are thin-skinned and are suitable for boiling or roasting.  It is thought that the potato was first brought to the United States in the early 18th century by Irish immigrants who settled in New England. However, the potato tuber did originate in the Americas…just much farther south.  Potatoes are indigenous to the Andes.  People in this country were slow to adopt the “Irish potato” and large scale cultivation of potatoes did not occur in the U.S. until the 19th century.  Now, potatoes are the world’s fourth largest food crop (after rice, wheat, and corn).

There are mayn varieties of potato, from the large Russet potato (best for baking or using in soups) to the waxy, yellow Yukon Golds, which are great for roasting or boiling.

Health Benefits

Potatoes are not just a delicious side dish – they’re full of nutrients that benefit our health. For instance, potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin B6, which assists in production of red blood cells, metabolising carbohydrates, and maintenance of the nervous system. As we age, our risk of vitamin B6 deficiency increases, so it is important to eat adequate amounts of this nutrient. Potatoes are also rich in potassium, a mineral that helps maintain normal blood pressure and preventing hypertension.

Storing & Cooking Information

Handling: Wash potatoes. Peel if necessary; remove the “eyes” or green spots.

Storing: Potatoes should be stored at room temperature, away from light.  Refrigerate baby new potatoes if not used within 2-3 days.  Late-season potatoes store well in a cellar once they have been cured: let the skins toughen, otherwise the potatoes could shrivel and become soft shortly after storage. An ideal storage temperature is 45—50 degrees. If the temperature is too high, potatoes tend to soften, shrivel, and sprout. Temperatures that are too low cause the starch in the potatoes to turn to sugar, giving them a sweet taste. Should this happen, hold the potatoes at 70 degrees F for a week or so, and the sugar will convert back to starch, making the potatoes edible again. Potatoes properly stored should last all winter long. It is a good idea to layer the potatoes with newspapers so if one turns bad, it won’t spoil the whole lot.

Freezing: Do not freeze potatoes—they become watery.