Monday, October 7, 2013

Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to

Whoever knew that there is such a thing as a dutch cream potato, or that there are three classifications of potatoes -- waxy, floury and all-around? And how are you supposed to know which kind of potato is good for which kind of dish?

Well, not me, until I came across the instruction to add "4 large dutch cream potatoes" to the soup I wanted to make. I turned to Google to find out what they were. It seems I'd wandered onto an Australian recipe website where I'd been introduced to dutch cream potatoes, a spud with similar qualities to America's milva and yellow finn potatoes (oval, with yellow skin, and classified waxy).

So what makes a potato waxy, and why does it matter? Here's what I learned:

Waxy potatoes work well in salads or stews or other dishes where they need to hold their shape well, as they have less starch and higher moisture content. They usually have delicate skins. You may know them as boilers or new potatoes.

Floury potatoes are good for baking, frying and mashing. Their moisture content is lower and they have a fluffy texture. They are considered old potatoes. If you want to use them for fries or salads, soak them first to lower their starch content.

As for all-around potatoes, neither with high or low starch levels and versatile in their use, the white potato is a good choice.

I found some great websites about potatoes you might want to explore. They are beautiful and helpful besides. They'll set you straight on spuds and give you some great ideas to enhance your meals. Check them out here (basic descriptions of potato varieties) and here (an encyclopedia of potato varieties).

This site has some wonderful videos, recipes and cooking tips. Included on their "Potato History and Fun Facts" page are these folk remedies which involve potatoes:
* Help a toothache by carrying a potato in your pocket.
* Ease a sore throat by putting a slice of baked potato in a stocking and tying it around your throat.
* Ease aches and pains by rubbing the affected area with the water potatoes have been boiled in.

Over the next few weeks I'll be trying out a few new potato recipes, and I'll plan to pass on the best of them to you. If you've got any good ones you'd like to share, send them my way!

In the meantime, here's a dutch cream potato, wishing you a g'day!

Actually, I'm a russet!

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