POTATOES - A POTATO PRIMER

POTATOES - A POTATO PRIMER

REDS - Red skin, white interior - these potatoes have a smooth, moist texture making them perfect in salads and good for steaming, boiling and roasting.

RUSSETS - Brown-skinned, white-fleshed potatoes - the most widely used potato out there. They are all-purpose - great for baking, frying and roasting.

PURPLE/BLUE - Native to South America with a slightly nutty flavor and their color can vary from indigo to pale purple. Both the skin and flesh have color in some varieties; in some varieties, the interior is white and just the skin has color. Good in salads and side dishes as well as soups and french fries. Also good mashed. The most color is preserved when these potatoes are microwaved, steamed or baked.

WHITE - These are less starchy than russett potatoes; usually round or long in shape with white interior and beige skins. An all-purpose potato used in every kind of preparation.

YELLOW - Most popular in European countries, Yukon Gold and Yellow Finn varieties are now showing up in American cuisine. Dense, creamy-textured and differ from our white-fleshed common russet; they have a light, fluffy texture. Terrific in salads, potato dishes (au gratin, scalloped), soups and chowders; can also be mashed.

FINGERLING - Small, short potatoes ranging from 1 to 2 inches in diameter and 2 to 3 minches in length. Skins are thin - no need to peel. Great in salads or roasted and come in a variety of colors.

MASHED POTATOES

Russett potatoes will make fluffier potatoes.

Yellow, white and red potatoes will need a little extra TLC to turn them into mashed because they can become gummy.

Leaving the skins on add flavor and nutrients. Simply scrub the skins with a vegetable brush, clean cloth or sponge.

Cut potatoes into pieces of the same size before cooking.

Cut potatoes can be stored in cold water up to 2 hours before cooking to prevent darkening.

When potatoes are fork-tender, drain them right away. Return them to the same pan, and cook over low heat about 1 minute to remove excess water and to dry the potatoes, shaking the pan frequently to keep the potatoes from burning.

Be sure to heat the milk to prevent potatoes from getting sticky.

Beat potatoes only until light and fluffy. Overbeating will cause potatoes to become gummy. If you use an electric beater, be especially careful not to overbeat.