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Seasonal Produce: Potatoes

Today, potatoes are commercially grown in 48 states with overlapping seasons so they are available year round. (New potatoes are the exception as they are usually sold only in the spring and summer.) Hearty and comforting, potatoes are especially delicious during cold weather served as a creamy mash, crisply roasted or in a cheesy au gratin. They also make a wonderful addition to soups and stews. Potatoes are grown in a number of varieties, including ones with purple or pink skin and flesh. Since some are better for baking than boiling, be sure to check out the descriptions of the most common types below before you start cooking.

Purchasing

  • Select firm, smooth, well-shaped potatoes that are free of wrinkles, cracks and blemishes. Avoid any with green-tinged skins or sprouting "eyes" or buds.
  • Store potatoes for 2 to 3 weeks in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place. Warmth and light encourage sprouting and shriveling. They may be stored in a paper or burlap bag. Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator.
  • Never store potatoes near onions as gases given off by the onions cause potatoes to spoil faster.

ALL SORTS OF POTATOES
Select types of potatoes based on how they will be used: baked, boiled, mashed, roasted or fried.

Russets: also called baking or Idaho potatoes; long and slightly rounded with rough, brown skin; high in starch and low in moisture; excellent for baking, french fries and mashing.

Round Reds & Whites: also called boiling potatoes; medium-size with smooth red or light tan skins; low in starch and high in moisture with a waxy texture; excellent for boiling (potato salads), oven roasting and frying (hash browns/potato pancakes).

New Potatoes: young potatoes of any variety, but mainly round reds; small with a very thin skin; low in starch with a crisp, waxy texture; excellent in potato salads or for roasting or grilling.

Yukon Gold: thin, yellowish skin with golden, buttery-tasting flesh; low in starch and high in moisture; excellent for boiling and mashing.

Preparing

  • Scrub potatoes before cooking with a vegetable brush to remove any embedded dirt and sprouts.
  • For many uses, potatoes do not require peeling. When peeling, use a vegetable peeler to remove as little flesh as possible. Cut out any deep "eyes" or blemishes.
  • Trim away any green-tinged skin or flesh as it tastes bitter and can be toxic if eaten in large amounts. (The green color is caused by prolonged exposure to light.)
  • lmmediately place peeled potatoes into a bowl or pan of cold water to prevent them from turning brown.

Nutrition

  • Good source of vitamin C

Serving

  • Get creative with baked potato toppings and turn those spuds into a hearty main dish. Use a variety of cooked veggies or other ingredients and top them off with Breakstone’s or Knudsen Sour Cream; crumbled cooked Oscar Mayer Bacon; or your favorite Kraft Shredded Cheese or Kraft Dressing.
  • Jazz up mashed potatoes with garlic, fresh herbs, Philadelphia Cream Cheese or Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese.
  • Toss chunks of buttered boiled potatoes with Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese and chopped fresh parsley.
  • Coat potato pieces with oil, minced fresh garlic, Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard and herbs before roasting.
  • Add zesty flavor to creamy potato salads by stirring in Kraft Prepared Horseradish or Good Seasons Salad Dressing Mix.
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