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Baking Potatoes

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russet; Idaho

What is it?

Baking potatoes are high-starch potatoes, such as russets, that have a light, mealy texture best for baking, mashing, and french-frying. High-starch potatoes fall apart when boiled, making them not so good for salads.

Kitchen math:

1 medium = 12 oz. = 2-1/4 cups medium (1/2 inch) dice

Don’t have it?

For mashed potatoes, you can substitute a medium-starch potato like the Yukon gold, though the results will be creamy, rather than fluffy.

How to choose:

Potatoes should feel heavy and firm, never soft, wrinkled, or blemished. Try not to buy potatoes in plastic bags since it’s hard to evaluate them.

How to prep:

Depending on your recipe, potatoes may be peeled or skin left on. If the skin is left on, scrub the potatoes under running water and cut away any eyes or dark spots with a paring knife. Keep sliced or chopped potatoes in cool water until ready to use to prevent discoloration through oxidation.

How to store:

Potatoes should be stored in a dark, cool (45° to 50°F), dry place. Never refrigerate raw potatoes. If the temperature is too cold, some of the potatoes’ starches will turn into sugars. Not only does this taste unpleasant, but the extra sugars also lead to overbrowning during cooking. If a potato winds up in cold storage, you can convert the sugars back to starches by storing it at room temperature for a few days. According to the Idaho Potato Commission, potatoes and onions release gases that interact and make each spoil more quickly, so store them separately.

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