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See also: Baked Potatoes & FoilPotato Facts; Potato Recipes; Blackening of Potatoes

POTATOES

A diet of potatoes and milk will supply all nutrients the human body needs.

Potatoes exposed to bright light develop green patches. This green skin contains the toxin 'solanine' which can cause cramps, headache, diarrhea, and fever. The solution is simple. Don't eat the green skin - simply remove it - the solanine is only present in the green skin and any discoloration underneath it - the rest of the potato is completely safe to eat.

Apples, pears and potatoes dropped in cold, lightly salted water as they are peeled will retain their color.

Dry mealy potatoes have a high starch content and their cells separate so they make good mashed or baked potatoes. (example: Russet potatoes)

Waxy moist potatoes have a lower starch content and higher sugar content, so are 'stickier' and are best for boiling, scalloped, and potato salad. (ie: Red skin potatoes)

If you are not sure which type you have, put one in a brine of one part salt to 11 parts water (11 fl oz water and 2 TB salt). Waxy potatoes float, mealy potatoes will sink.

Yellow fleshed potatoes contain more vitamin C than white fleshed potatoes.

Potatoes that are stored below 40 degrees F. will become sweeter, but when returned to room temperature, will consume the excess sugar through normal respiration.
 

Tips from the Pros:
(Courtesy of the U.S. Potato Board)  Used with permission.

How to Make a Fluffier Baked Potato

    • Pierce potato with a fork several times before baking to allow steam to escape.

    • Do not wrap potatoes in aluminum foil, which will give them a steamed texture.

    • To serve, use a small knife to cut a cross on top. Push sides and ends gently to fluff.


How to Get Softer Skin on a Baked Potato
Lightly rub potato with oil or softened butter before baking. 
 
How to Make a Faster Baked Potato
Half-Baked Potato: Split a medium-sized baked potato lengthwise in half and brush cut sides with olive oil. Bake, flat sides down, on well-greased baking sheet in 375ºF oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until tender and crusty on bottoms.

TYPES OF POTATO

    NEW POTATOES: Most frequently used to describe those freshly harvested and marketed during the late winter or early spring. The name is also widely used in later crop producing areas to designate freshly dug potatoes which are not quite fully matured. Best used for boiling or creaming. They vary widely in size and shape, depending upon variety, but are likely to be affected by 'skinning' or 'feathering' of the outer layer of skin. This skinning usually affects only their appearance. 

    GENERAL PURPOSE POTATOES: Inludes the great majority of supplies offered for sale in the markets, both round and long types. With the aid of air-cooled storages, they are available year-round. They are used for boiling, frying and baking, although many are not the best for baking.

    BAKING POTATOES: Both variety and area where grown are important factors affecting baking quality. The Russet Burbank, a long variety with fine, scaly netting on the skin is the most widely grown and is the best known.


 

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