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Potato Buying, Storage and Cooking Tips
Potatoes are the starchy edible tubers that are used to make french fries, chips, hash browns and knishes; as well as the eponymous mashed potatoes and potato salad. Potatoes are staple foodstuffs all over the world due to the fact that they are an easy crop to grow and have a wide variety of culinary applications. Here are a few tips for selecting and using potatoes:
Tip #1: Avoid purchasing potatoes that have begun to turn green or wrinkle. Potatoes that have already begun to sprout, turn green or wrinkle while they are still in the market are either incredibly old or have been stored improperly. The chlorophyll that causes the potato to turn green indicates the increase of the production of solanine, which is toxic.
Tip #2: Store potatoes in a cool, dark place. The ideal potato storing temperature is between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping potatoes exposed to light for long periods of time will cause them to turn green. Because potatoes are 80% water, humid environments keep them fresh longer. Cellars and storage cupboards are perfect. Also, storing potatoes with apples helps to slow potato sprouting.
Tip #3: Russet potatoes are best for baking, red and white potatoes are best for boiling and roasting. Russet potatoes have a high starch content and a dry and fluffy flesh when baked. They tend to fall apart when boiled and do not hold their shape in soups and stews. Red and white potatoes have a lower starch content than Russets, but a higher sugar and moisture content; they will maintain their integrity when boiled, but when mashed have a gluey and gummy texture. Yukon Gold potatoes have a texture midway between a Russet and a red; they can be mashed, baked or boiled, and will produce results slightly less firm than a red and yet denser than a Russet.
Potatoes can be used in many different recipes. Potato salad, soup, as well as twice baked and mashed potatoes can be a hit at any family meal or party. There are different types available at grocery stores and markets. Sweet and Idaho potatoes can be used in various recipes for different types of tastes. Tater tots, fries, and those that have garlic, rosemary, and other herbs give each dish a unique taste that can be used with any meal. You can find farmers that grow potato plants in fields or learn how to grow your own spuds in your own back yard. You will learn that some types of potatoes are preferred in some potato salad recipes, while both sweet and Idahoan potatoes can be mashed, fried, twice baked, or used in soups. Search online or in a phone book to find where you can buy fresh potatoes. Shop around and see where the best price is or if one store is offering a sale on their produce. You can find reviews to see which type works best for certain recipes, how to care for them at home to make them last longer, and how to tell if they're fresh or not before buying them. Friends, family, and the Internet are three great places to find different ways to use potatoes as the main or side dish. Playing around with different herbs can give potato dishes a variety of flavors so you can easily pick and choose what to use for your family.