Potatoes (Russet, Yukon Gold, Round White, Yellow Finnish, Baby Red, Round Red)
Starchy tuber of a plant native to South America and brought to North America in the mid-17th century. The 4 major varieties are: 1. russet (or Idaho)--a long potato with rough brown skin and many eyes, is starchy (great for baking); 2. long white--long with thin skin and few shallow eyes (bake, boil or roast); 3. round white or red--medium size, is waxy (boil or roast); 4. Yukon gold and yellow Finnish--are buttery tasting. There are almost as many ways to cook potatoes as there are varieties!
How to Buy
Choose nicely shaped, smooth, firm potatoes with unblemished skins, free from discoloration.
How to Prepare
To bake- Choose potatoes of similar size. Scrub potatoes, but do not peel; if desired, rub with shortening for softer skins. Pierce potatoes to allow steam to escape.
To boil or steam- Scrub potatoes. Leave skins on whenever possible, or peel thinly and remove eyes. Leave whole, or cut into large pieces.
How to Cook Conventionally
Bake: Uncovered in 375° oven 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, in 350° oven 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, in 325° oven about 1 hour 30 minutes, or until tender.
Boil: Place whole potatoes or pieces in 2 quart saucepan. Add water just to cover. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Boil gently (simmer) covered 20 to 30 minutes or until tender.
Steam: Covered 30 to 35 minutes or until tender.
How to Microwave
Whole- Pierce potatoes to allow steam to escape. Place on microwavable paper towel. 1 potato: Microwave 4 to 5 minutes, turning once, until tender. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. 2 potatoes: Microwave 6 to 8 minutes, turning once, until tender. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. 3 potatoes: Arrange in spoke pattern with narrow ends in center. Microwave 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until tender. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. 4 potatoes: Arrange in spoke pattern with narrow ends in center. Microwave 12 to 14 minutes, turning once, until tender. Cover; let stand 5 minutes.