Picking the Right Potato

Posted in Blog, Bounty Preserved on Monday, April 03, 2023

Picking the Right Potato

It’s no secret that Washington produces some of the best potatoes in the world. Its rich loess soils, mild climate, and region-wide irrigation systems create the perfect conditions for potatoes to thrive. Washington potato farmers, like Jordan Reed of JM Farms in Pasco, produce an abundance of these nutrient-dense, versatile crops. But, how do we as consumers make the most of these tasty tubers? 

 Step 1: Proper Potato Storage

Go ahead and buy that five-pound bag of potatoes at the grocery store. Even if your family doesn’t eat potatoes on a regular basis, they can last up to two months when stored correctly. Homesteader and Bounty Preserved host, Eryn Whalen walks us through the ins and outs of keeping potatoes fresh. Store your spuds in a cool dark place; warmer than the fridge but colder than the rest of your house. To limit sprouting and rot, make sure they are kept in a container with adequate air flow like a paper or mesh bag. You’ll be enjoying potatoes and limiting food waste all year long.

 Step 2: Picking the Right Potato 

Choosing the proper variety of potatoes can elevate your dish to new heights. While potatoes are known for being extremely versatile and easy to use, just a little bit of knowledge can make you appear to be an expert in the kitchen. The big three to know are Russets, Reds, and Goldens. 

  • Russet Potatoes - Containing large amounts of starch, these potatoes are light and fluffy. Making them ideal for baking whole, mashing, or adding to soups. In fact, check out Eryn Whalen’s delicious Spicy Potato Soup and try some Russets yourself! 
  • Red Potatoes - This variety can vary in size, but are often smaller and denser than their Russet relatives. Reds contain fewer starches and more sugar, allowing them to hold up and withstand baking or roasting. These Red Potato Canapes are a perfect way to use up the reds in your pantry. 
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes - Known for their versatility, Goldens can be thrown into just about any recipe and get the job done. However, thinly slicing and layering them Au Gratin style makes an excellent side dish for any dinner. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, give this Potato and Apple Gratin a try the next time you have some prized Washington produce laying around. 

 Step 3: Preparing Your Potatoes 

The possibilities are endless when it comes to picking the perfect potato dish. The good news is that Washington Grown has an extensive selection of locally inspired potato recipes at your fingertips. There are a few recipes in this season’s first episode. Enjoy some Yukon Gold potatoes and try out the french dish Pommes Anna from Oldfellow’s Cafe in Seattle. If you’re hoping to have something a little different, you can make a Garden Stuffed Baked Potato, packing a nutritional punch by adding a chopped vegetable of your choice to the meal. 

Washington potatoes are undoubtedly the best. So good in fact, it would be a shame to waste them. In an effort to limit food waste and make the most of our incredible food system here in Washington, pay attention to how you store, plan, and prepare your foods. When it comes to spuds, you’ve got lots of time to use them up, creating a wide variety of dishes to meet the needs of everyone in the kitchen.