If you had to limit your diet to a single food, potatoes wouldn’t be a bad choice. Baked, boiled, chipped, fried, mashed, roasted or scalloped — the lowly potato can taste completely and deliciously different depending on how it’s prepared.

A selection of potoatoes harvested from Potato Grow Bags.

Good Varieties for Baking

  • Butte
  • Caribé
  • Carola
  • Elba
  • Red Cloud
  • Rose Gold
  • Swedish Peanut
  • Yukon Gold

If you had to limit your diet to a single food, potatoes wouldn’t be a bad choice. Baked, boiled, chipped, fried, mashed, roasted or scalloped — the lowly potato can taste completely and deliciously different depending on how it’s prepared.

What most folks don’t realize is that two different kinds of potatoes prepared in the same way, will often yield completely different results. Bake a Russet Burbank and you’ll get a light and fluffy baked potato. Bake a Desiree and you’ll have a disappointingly dense and somewhat watery baked potato.

Conversely, if you add chunks of Desiree to a pot of soup, they’ll hold their shape and have a satisfying waxy texture. Chunks of Russet Burbank will turn to mush and disappear. Both are perfect potatoes. It’s all about what happens in the kitchen!

To maximize your potato pleasure, pay attention to the kinds of potatoes you are planting and how each variety should be cooked to its best advantage.

Waxy Texture or Floury Texture?

There are two factors that determine a potato’s texture after cooking: its solids content and the type of starch it contains. Whether a potato cooks up moist or dry is determined by its solids content. Potatoes that are low in solids have a moist texture; potatoes that are high in solids are drier. Whether a potato cooks up light and fluffy or dense and waxy, is determined by its starch content. Potatoes that are high in amylose starch are mealy or floury when cooked; potatoes high in amylopectin starch are firm and dense.

Learn more in the article Making the Most of Your Potato Harvest.

Kathy LaLiberte
Director of Gardening, Gardener’s Supply