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How to buy and prepare potatoes

Here’s everything you need to know about selecting potatoes, the different varieties of potatoes and how to prepare them for your family.

baked potato with ham and cheeseBuying potatoes

At the market select loose potatoes that are well formed, smooth, firm, with eyes and no discoloration, cracks, bruises or soft spots. Avoid green potatoes. They have been exposed to light and have
a bitter taste.

When choosing potatoes:

Classic long, brownish potatoes are best for baking or roasting

Rounded or long white potatoes are good for boiling and baking or roasting

Small red potatoes are ideal for boiling

Baby new potatoes are best boiled or steamed.


Do not wash your potato before storing. Washing speeds decay. Store potatoes in a dry, dark, cool place. Do not refrigerate.

Here are a few healthy ideas to add potatoes in your meals

According the experts in Idaho, it is best to pierce a potato with fork several times instead of wrapping it in foil to bake.

Creative baked potato toppings

A baked potato heaped with butter and sour cream is fattening and boring. Try these creative and healthy toppings to jazz up a baked potato.

  • Salsa, black beans and corn
  • Chopped, cooked broccoli and cheddar cheese (finish under broiler)
  • Cottage cheese with fresh chopped herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice
  • Chopped, cooked asparagus and Swiss cheese (finish under broiler)
  • Chopped grilled chicken and guacamole
  • Tuna (can or grilled) and steamed green beans lightly tossed in vinaigrette
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped sun dried tomatoes, chopped fresh basil and cubed mozzarella cheese tossed in olive oil (finish under broiler)

Mashed potatoes are a versatile side dish

With the addition of a few simple herbs and spices, you change their personality to pair with any ethnic menu. Simply make your mashed potato recipe and just before serving, try one of these:

  • Southwestern: Add one chopped chipotle chili (in adobo sauce), 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
  • Southern: Add 1/4 cup crumbled bacon (pork, soy, or turkey) with 2 tablespoons chopped green onions.
  • French: Add 2 tablespoons of chopped dill and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • Japanese: Add 1 tablespoon of wasabi paste with 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • Italian: Add 2 tablespoons of prepared pesto sauce and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Potato tips & tricks

Hash browns time saver

To save time, keep a bag of frozen hash browns on hand at all times. Whenever a recipe calls for a potato (for thickening), use 1 cup of the hash browns as a substitute.

Over salted your veggies?

Add a slice of raw potato to soak up the extra saltiness. (also works with gravy, soups, stews, and other cooked dishes)

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