There is a lot you can do with potatoes, bake, boil, roast, fry, mash, smash – and they are healthier than you think. This vegetable, yeah, you may not believe it, but the beloved potato is officially a vegetable; part of the starchy vegetables, like corn, peas, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, beans and lentils and beans.
Potatoes – What’s to love?
Potatoes are rich in starch (carbohydrates), hence the category they’re in, but they also contain vitamin C and B6, protein, potassium and fiber. Judging potatoes only on their carbohydrate (starch) content would not be fair and judging it in isolation would not be fair either. Always ‘judge’ your diet in its entirety. By the way I am not working for the Potato Board or something like that, this is just my opinion.
So, what’s to love about potatoes? The flavor, the versatility, the nutritional value, the variety and their availability. How much and how frequently you should eat potatoes, all depends on your diet, your health, your lifestyle and your needs. Because potatoes are part of the special group of vegetables, the starchy ones, does not make them as healthy as the ‘traditional vegetables’; the green, orange, red ones. Having that said, potatoes are healthy nevertheless, just in a different way. I am going to leave it at that, and leave the rest to the nutritional experts.
Types of potatoes – as we use them
The table below shows which potato to use for which type of preparation. Let me tell you beforehand, that this table is not perfect. To give you an example; if you like a soup with pieces of potato that retain their shape, please use the Red, White, Yellow, or Fingerling potato, as indicated below, but if you prefer the potato to fall apart in your soup, or want to use them as a binding ingredient, the russet variety may be a better choice.
The other way around can also happen. Fingerling potatoes, white and purple potatoes should not be your first choice if you want to make velvety smooth mashed potatoes, but if you prefer chunky mashed potatoes, any type of potato may be able to fulfill that request.
|TYPE OF PREPARATION||RUSSET||YELLOW||RED||WHITE||PURPLE||FINGERLING|
|Pan-fried / sauteed||x||x||x||x|
|Soup / stew / casserole||x||x||x||x|
Types of potatoes – 2 basic categories
The next table is looking at the types of potatoes we have. Basically two categories; starchy and waxy and a third if you like, the in between, the all purpose potatoes; the potatoes that are fifty:fifty or starchy and waxy at the same time. They don’t excel in either, but will also not be a disappointment.
|Starchy potato||Waxy potato|
Starchy potatoes – obviously high in starch. They’re also low in moisture, so they crumble and break easily. They’re dry inside and absorb liquids or butter and oil easily. Starchy potatoes are the ideal choice for mashing and they make the best baked potato, as well as french fries. They absorb the oil, making them crispy on the outside, while the inside remains crumbly/fluffy. Sometimes also called floury potatoes. (x)* These potatoes also primarily waxy, but also have a starchy characteristic and could be used instead of a Russet of a yellow potato with a slightly different textural outcome.
Waxy potatoes – low in starch, high in moisture and firm/creamy/waxy on the inside. These potatoes keep their shape well, which makes them perfect for boiling, roasting and steaming.
Other types of potatoes – The potatoes that are not necessarily starchy nor waxy, have a degree of both starch and moisture that’s in between, so to say. Then there is another category, the ‘new’ potatoes, referring to potatoes that are harvested before reaching full size. Mostly these are small red potatoes.
Potatoes – What’s to love?
I would say there is a lot to love about a potato. Flavor, texture, color, size, ways of preparation and easy availability. And this vegetable is quite healthy. So start enjoying your creative potato dish!