There are, by my count, at least seven levels of fried chicken. The worst of them is good; the best, which I waited forty-four years to find, led to what can only be called an out-of-body experience. Let’s start at …
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
- National Potato Council: The Potato
- Washington State University: Potato Varieties - A Comprehensive List
- Saveur: One Ingredient, Many Ways - Potatoes
- The Reluctant Gourmet: Mashed Potato Recipe
- Potato Goodness Unearthed: Potato Nutrition Handbook
- Fine Cooking.com: Yukon gold Potatoes
- The Kitchn: How to Pick a Potato
- Produce Oasis: Russet Potato
- United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service: Potatoes
- Stoddard Farms: Potatoes
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