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Russet Potatoes

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baking potato; Idaho potato

What is it?

Russets are long and large with a thick, rough, skin. A high-starch potato, with a flesh that’s snowy white and very dry, they are the quintessential baking potato. They also make first-rate mashed potatoes–soft and light and able to absorb an impressive amount of liquid or other enrichments. They’re also delicious baked in a creamy gratin, and they make the best french fries. Where they don’t shine is in preparations that call for boiling, as in most potato salads. And though russets make delicious pureed soups, it’s not a good idea to use them in any soup where you want the potatoes to stay in small, intact chunks. Russets are often called Idaho potatoes after the state that leads in production.

Kitchen math:

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

Don’t have it?

In many preparations you can substitute a medium-starch potato, such as a Yukon Gold.

How to choose:

Choose potatoes that feel firm and not spongy. Avoid those with eyes or dark spots, which are a sign of age. If using russets for baked potatoes or French fries look to buy unform sized ones for most even cooking. 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 will keep longest kept in a dry, dark, and cool (ideally 45° to 50°F) place. Never refrigerate raw potatoes. If the temperature is too cold, some of the potatoes’ starches will turn into sugars and will taste unpleasant. (Though you can convert the sugars back to starches by storing it at room temperature for a few days.) Store them away form onions, too, as they release gases that interact and make each spoil more quickly.

Cross Reference

baking potato


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