Red Skin Mashed Potatoes

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There are many varieties of potatoes and each varies with respect to size, color, and starch content. Some potatoes are good for baking, some good for frying, while others are best for mashing. Knowing which potatoes are good for each of these cooking methods is important to get the best results.

History

  • The potato has been an important food for hundreds of years. The United Nations has designated the year 2008 to be the international year of the potato. Potatoes are a still a vital part of diets in many parts of the world, particularly North and South America, where they originated. In fact, the average American consumes roughly 73 pounds of potatoes annually.

Types

  • The Potato Association of America lists approximately 50 varieties of potatoes in three categories: russets, white, and red. Yellow or gold potatoes fall under the white potato category. For cooking purposes, potatoes can be either bakers or boilers.

Significance

  • Red skinned potatoes come in several varieties, and are all considered boiling potatoes. Red skinned potatoes have a relatively low starch content, and hold up well to boiling. However, when mashed they tend to be lumpier than mashed baking potatoes. Red skinned potatoes hold up better when boiled and put into potato salads or used in soups or gratins.

Considerations

  • Russet potatoes tend to make the best mashing potatoes. However, these potatoes are large, and have thick coarse skins which are not good in mashed potatoes.

Benefits

  • The perfect mashed potatoes are a combination of both baking russet potatoes and red skinned potatoes with the skins on. The russet potatoes will make the mashed potatoes smooth, while the red skinned potatoes will add just the right amount of lumps (which are essential for good homemade mashed potatoes) as well as add the nutrients and color of the thin, edible red skins.

Misconceptions

  • Although the majority of new potatoes are red potatoes, the two terms are not synonymous. New potatoes simply refers to the fact that the potato was harvested early, and may be of any variety. New potatoes have thinner skins and can be cooked whole.

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  • Photo Credit Sanja Gjenero
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