Ingredients: Which Potatoes to Use in Australia

Broadly speaking, potatoes fall into two main categories, with flesh that is either floury or waxy in texture when cooked. In his encyclopaedia of kitchen science, McGee on Food and Cooking, US writer Harold McGee explains that floury potatoes are denser and have more dry starch in their cells. During cooking, they separate and become dry and fluffy. Cells in waxy varieties stick together when cooked, helping them to remain in firm, intact pieces for dishes such as gratins or salads.

Royal Blue Potatoes

Selection and storage

● Be choosy, says specialist grower Geoff Dobson. Choose firm spuds and don’t buy ones with obvious dark or soft patches, insect or mechanical damage, such as big cuts, or green skins.

● Handle with care. Potatoes look tough, but can and do bruise.

● Keep potatoes in a well-ventilated, cool, dark environment. ”Even after potatoes are harvested, they continue to be living organisms,” says AUSVEG spokesman Luke Raggatt. Warmth encourages sprouting. Prolonged light exposure causes them to turn green, which tastes bitter and, in large quantities, can be toxic.

● Use paper bags, as plastic can get sweaty.

● Don’t store uncooked spuds in the fridge. Very low temperatures can convert potato starches to sugars, causing fried or roast potatoes to brown too quickly.

Green potatoes are those that have been exposed to light during their growth. It can be harmful in large quantities and is best not to eat them.

• It is ok to eat sprouting potatoes so long as you take the sprout out

• Many nutrients lie just under the skin of the potato so it is best to peel only a thin layer or scrub well and keep the skin on

• Potatoes are a carbohydrate rich food but also a source of vitamin C, protein & folate

• Potatoes are 80% water

Nicola? Potatoes

Boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew

Below are just some varieties of potatoes from the available hundreds. If you can’t find a specific variety in the shops, the important distinction is floury versus waxy. White-fleshed, floury potatoes fry and roast well. Yellow-fleshed, waxy ones are better for salads, gratin or curries. If you are looking for a crunchy finish from a waxy potato, it can help to partly cook (boil or bake in the jacket), before slicing for frying or roasting.

Note that in Australia, new potatoes are not a variety, just potatoes that have been harvested early while the skins are still tender and papery. White or yellow-fleshed, these very young potatoes tend to waxiness and should be cooked soon after buying because they deteriorate quickly. Simply simmer them in their skins or steam. Serve with a little butter or olive oil and salt and maybe a scattering of chopped soft herbs.

potatoes

Read more about the wealth of potatoes available in Australia, but rarely seen or identified on Supermarket and Green Grocer shelves.

Chips

  • General-purpose Sebagos
  • Creamy white-fleshed King Edwards
  • Bintjes
  • Golden Delight
  • Red Rascal

Roasting

  • Desiree
  • Bintjes
  • Golden Delight
  • Red Rascal

Gnocchi

  • Desirees

Potato Salad

Waxy Varieties as they hold their shape when cooked

  • Dutch varieties
  • Nicolas
  • Bintjes
  • Kipflers
  • Desiree

Whole Potatoes, Steamed or Boiled

Waxy varieties as they hold their shape

  • Bintjes
  • Kipfler
  • Nandine
  • Pinkeye
  • Desiree
  • Red Rascal

Mashed Potato

English – Floury or All Round Potatoes

  • Sebagos
  • Coliban
  • King Edward
  • Red Rascal

French – Waxy Potatoes

  • Dutch creams
  • Nicolas
  • Bintjes
  • Pink Eye (Southern Gold)
  • Desiree

Cooking: Gratin de Pommes de Terre et Courgettes | Gratin of Potatoes and Zucchini with Thyme

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2 Comments

  1. Tabula Rasa says:

    If you can get hold of them (mainly people who grow their own) then Mayan Gold is an excellent chipper/wedges and Anya is a good waxy new potato. Pink fir Apple is one of the best tasting but it’s knobbly appearance can put people off.

    Like

    1. Ganga108 says:

      Hey thanks for the information – I’ve not seen them here, fingers crossed we get them soon. I wonder if our climate suits them.

      Like

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