BLOG: Buying the right potatoes

Cooked Potatoes_87538 (2)
Among my friends and family, I am often the ‘go to’ person when it comes to culinary questions
Recently I received a text from a friend wanting to know why her potato salad didn't work as the potatoes always seemed to fall apart.  When you are buying potatoes, take into consideration what you will be using them for, and that will help you pick the right potato for the job.

There are 3 main types of potato, and different varieties of each type. Below I have set out the differences, how they are best cooked, and some common varieties.

The 3 main types of potato are

- floury, fluffy textured

- general purpose

- waxy, smooth textured

Floury, fluffy potatoes are great for roasting, baking, mashing, chips and wedges. They have low water content but are high in starch, meaning they have a drier, fluffier texture when cooked, and also break up easily.

Examples of floury potatoes are Agria, Ilam Hardy, Red Rascal, Fianna and Laura.

Waxy, smooth textured potatoes are perfect for salads, boiling, braises and stews. This is because their high water content and low starch allows them to retain their shape when cooking. They have a smooth texture when cooked.

Examples are Nadine, Draga, Frisia, Jersey Bennie, Red King Edward, and most ‘new’ potatoes

General purpose potatoes sit somewhere in the middle. They aren’t totally smooth, but nor are they completely fluffy when cooked. They are good for most cooking methods.

Examples are Desiree, Rua, Moonlight, Purple Passion, and Rocket

Some varieties are waxier at the beginning of the season, so if in doubt check the label or tag on the bag of potatoes, as growers check how varieties cook throughout the season and label based on the best end use of the potato.

Go here for more information about potato varieties and how they cook.

New potatoes are in season at the moment, so it is a great time to try some different potato salads. Here is a link to one of my favourites.