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When I buy a bag of potatoes, I go ahead and boil as many as I think I might use that week. I place them in a colander in the refrigerator and, when ready to use, I either dice or shred them and just brown in some olive oil. This eliminates the time it takes to peel and cook right at meal time. Big time saver.
By Susan from Columbia, SC
If you are boiling potatoes to mash, it doesn't take long to dice the raw, peeled potatoes instead of halving or quartering them. It really speeds up boiling time.
Having said this, I did read of someone who took it a bit further. They grated their potatoes, and the result was grey wallpaper paste! So half inch cubes is probably the best option.
How many times have you stood in front of the potatoes in the store and wondered what the difference was in all those different varieties of potatoes? Or maybe you're a beginner at cooking and would like to know which potato is better for potato salad and which is best for baked potatoes. Well, I am here with your answers.
The potato is America's most popular vegetable, they can be boiled, baked, fried, microwaved, steamed, or roasted, with or without their peels. Many people love what we call the "fully loaded" potato with butter, sour cream and cheddar cheese, but left to themselves they're quite low in calories and loaded with nutrients. The potato contains many vitamins and minerals.
A medium-sized 150g (5.3 oz) potato with the skin provides 27mg of vitamin C (45% of the Daily Value (DV)), 620mg of potassium (18% of DV), 0.2mg vitamin B6 (10% of DV) and trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. The fiber content of a potato with skin (2g) is equivalent to that of many whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals.
Russets grow from 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) long and about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. These potatoes are high in starch. Russets are light and fluffy when cooked, making them ideal for baking and mashing. They are also wonderful for frying and roasting. Don't wrap them in aluminum foil while baking them; the foil traps moisture and makes the potato mushier.
Top varieties are russet Burbank, Russet Norkotahs, Russet Arcadia, and Russet Butte.
Regarded an all-purpose potato, round whites are very versatile and can be used in most potato preparations. They are well suited for boiling, roasting, frying, and mashing. Round whites hold their shaped after cooking.
These potatoes are grown mostly in the Northeastern United States. Round white varieties include Kennebec, Superior, and Atlantic.
These potatoes have a firm, creamy texture when cooked. They are available spring through summer. These all-purpose potatoes are very versatile and can be used in most potato preparations. Long whites are moister than russets. You can use long whites for boiling, baking, or deep frying. Long whites keep their shape when cooked.
Round reds are often referred to as "new potatoes"; however, technically, "new" refers to any variety of potatoes that is harvested before reaching maturity. They are also called red bliss potatoes or boiling potatoes and are medium-sized, round, rose to reddish-brown skinned potatoes with a dense, crisp white flesh.
Round reds are low in starch and are sweeter tasting than round whites. Choose round reds for boiling, roasting, grilling, sautes, stews, salads, and au gratin dishes. You can serve round reds cooked whole.
With their golden color, you can be fooled into thinking that they are buttered. These potatoes are increasingly popular in the United States and are now available for most of the year. They are great for roasting, baking, boiling and steaming. They are well suited for boiling, steaming, mashing, roasting, grilling, and au gratin dishes.
Yellow flesh potato varieties include Yukon Gold, Yellow Finn, German Butterball, Carola, Nicola, and Alby's Gold.
These relatively uncommon tubers have a subtle nutty flavor and flesh that ranges in hue from dark blue or lavender to white. Microwaving preserves the color the best, but steaming and baking are also favorable methods of preparation. Potatoes in this category hold their shape after cooking, so they're great for making potato salads and scalloped potatoes. They're not good for mashing, baking, or making fries.
Purple flesh potato varieties include All Blue, which is dry and good for roasting; Purple Peruvian which is good fried; and Purple Viking which has good flavor and is good mashed.
There are many varieties of these small, finger-shaped potatoes, but they all tend to be low in starch, and great for roasting or making potato salads. Fingerling varieties include Ruby Crescent, Russian Banana, Long White, and Purple Peruvian fingerlings.
New potatoes are harvested when their leaves are still green. Most potatoes are harvested after their leaves have turned yellow or brown and before their sugar has begun to convert to starch. New potatoes are thin skinned and very moist with a crisp, waxy textured flesh. New potatoes often come to market in the spring and early summer. They are never kept in storage because of their high sugar content.
New potatoes are great for cooking whole, boiling, or pan roasting. They keep their shape after cooking and are good used in potato salads. They're more perishable than other potatoes, so use them within a few days after buying them.
If potatoes have green patches, cut them off, as they have been exposed too long to direct lighting and will have a faintly bitter taste. The rest of the potato will taste fine. Good storage potatoes include Norkotah, Goldrush, Butte, Katahdin, Caribe, and Red Norland. Storing potatoes come from mature plants whose leafy tops have yellowed and died back. Storing potatoes should be dried or cured before they are stored. Potatoes are usually cured for a period of 4 to 5 days at about 60-70 degrees F (16-21 degrees C). Curing allows cuts and surface injuries of the tuber to "heal." A cellar is ideal, but any place where they won't be exposed to excessive heat or light will help prevent spoiling.
Wash and cook potatoes until tender. Peel and dice. Cook minced onions until tender, but not brown, in melted butter.
A few drops of lemon juice in the water will whiten boiled potatoes.
My tip is actually a time saving tip with cooking. I make several potato dishes each week. Fried potatoes, oven fried with seasonings, baked, mashed, hash-browns, etc.
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Why do potatoes turn black after you have peeled them and cooked them?
By Connie Parks from Bristol, TN
It is something to do with the starch; it oxidizes when the air touches it. To correct the problem, wash the potatoes with cold water when you peel or slice them to remove the starch.
Sometimes it is the pot or container you use. Try using a non-aluminum cooking vessel. Immediately put potatoes in cold water while peeling remainder of potatoes. Cover the potatoes completely with water and rinsing with cold water. Do not use disposable aluminum pans to serve in if making for a crowd.
When you remove the peel, the air turns the potato black. Place them in cold water after peeling. Adding some salt helps also. Other foods also turn black when peeled, such as apples, etc. Lemon juice or salt also prevents discoloration.
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Does anyone know if one can pre-cook or partially cook potatoes to be mashed for upcoming dinner? If so, will they taste as good as freshly cooked potatoes? Thanx for any tips on this. Luvyabye
This is a family favorite -- a "must have", at our family dinners. You don't taste the cream cheese, it just makes the potatoes very creamy. My husband would not eat these if he could taste the cream cheese since he does not like it.
Baked Mashed Potatoes
These potatoes can be made two days before serving. Just reheat in the oven for about 1 hour. If using Pyrex glass dish, place in oven before preheating. If oven is already in use, bring the glass dish to room temperature. This will prevent the dish from breaking. You can bake this at various temperatures, it just needs to be heated thoroughly -- watch so it doesn't burn. Different spices can be added. I sometimes add a small container of French onion dip along with the other ingredients. This also freezes well, if there are any leftovers. Enjoy! (12/23/2004)
You can also cook you potatoes in a crockpot so that you can put them on in the morning then in the afternoon they are hot and ready to be mashed. (12/23/2004)
By Shannon Fox
Thanx for the recipe, mkymlp, it looks delicious. The crockpot is a great idea, Shannon in NC, unfortunately, I don't have a crockpot :( Thanx for taking the time to respond to this question. (12/24/2004)
By SL Edens
Hi. If what you want is baked potatoes, you can bake them in 15 minutes in the microwave. If what you want is mashed, bake the potatoes in the am, then add the milk, s and p, butter etc. in the evening. I scrub the potatoes real well (don't peel), poke them all over with a fork, and then cook them 5 minutes right on the clean floor of my microwave. Roll them partly over, zap them another 5 minutes, and repeat. When done, the potatoes should be soft like baked potatoes! If you want mashed, bake them in the am and then put them in the frig. In the evening, cut them open, scoop out the flesh, put it in a pot with the other ingredients, smash with fork, and cook until hot. (12/25/2004)