Russet Vs. Yukon

Ask a group of people to imagine a potato, and most likely they will all picture roughly the same thing: a vegetable that is brownish, roundish and part of a hearty meal. However, there are actually dozens of popular potato varieties sold commercially in the United States and thousands grown across the globe. Two popular varieties in the United States are russet potatoes and Yukon potatoes, more commonly known as Yukon gold potatoes.

  1. History

    • Potatoes were first cultivated by the Incas before being brought to Europe.
      Potatoes were first cultivated by the Incas before being brought to Europe.

      Currently, russets are the most widely used potato in the United States. While russets have many sub-varieties, the most prominent U.S. variety is the russet Burbank, first developed in the late 1800s in the eastern United States. In contrast, Yukon golds were developed in Canada in the 1960s and widely marketed in the 1980s, making them a relative newcomer to the potato market. Young Yukon golds are also sometimes sold as baby Yukon golds.

    Appearance and Content

    • Russets are a good choice for the classic baked potato.
      Russets are a good choice for the classic baked potato.

      Russet potatoes have thick brown skin and a white interior, or flesh. The skin has a net-like texture with only a few shallow eyes. Yukon gold potatoes have white or yellow skin with a few shallow pink eyes and a golden flesh. Russets contain more starch and less moisture than Yukon golds and are therefore considered to be a starchy potato, while Yukon Golds are classified as either all-purpose or waxy. Both varieties of potatoes contain comparable amounts of vitamins, antioxidants and other nutrients.

    Growing

    • Potatoes can easily be grown in a home or community garden.
      Potatoes can easily be grown in a home or community garden.

      Currently, Idaho and Washington lead the United States in overall potato production, but potatoes can be grown in all 50 states. There is no notable difference in growing location between russets and Yukon golds. However, russets produce a higher yield than Yukon golds and store well, making them an ideal processing potato. Yukon golds are generally sold as fresh potatoes.

    Uses

    • In 2009, 35 percent of U.S. potatoes were used to make frozen French fries.
      In 2009, 35 percent of U.S. potatoes were used to make frozen French fries.

      Russets are commonly used in recipes that call for mashing, frying and baking. They are also sold as a processing potato and are the variety of potato most used for mass production of French fries in the United States. Yukon golds can be used in recipes that call for russets, and they are also commonly boiled or roasted whole. High-starch russets are not ideal for these cooking methods since they will lose their shape and texture. However, Yukon golds have a lower starch content and will maintain their shape through cooking, resulting in a pleasant texture and appearance on the plate.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images Seiya Kawamoto/Lifesize/Getty Images Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

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