Flavor and Storage Profiles

Potato varieties are designed to meet growing and culinary demands: soil, temperature, pest resistance, size, skin color, harvesting, and yield, grade, cooking method, flavor, texture and presentation.  Washington grows multiple potato varieties – some in Central and South Central Washington, some in Northwestern Washington, some for fresh usage and many for processing into frozen or dehydrated potato products and for chips.

Washington growers recommend the following varieties for fresh (table stock) usage.

Potato Variety

Characteristics

Preparation

Russets

Russet Burbank

Oblong, brown russeted skin. High solids (20-23%). Long, flattened with white flesh.

Most are processed for frozen French fries. Bake, French fry, mash, puree.

Russet Norkotah

Lower solids (~18%). Long to oblong, smooth. Shallow, bright golden eyes. Good looking. Consistent size and shape.

Bake, mash, puree, boil, French fry early season only.

Ranger Russet

High solids, large, long, slightly flattened.

Bake, fry, often processed.

Whites

White Rose

Large, long, flattened. Smooth white skin, white flesh.

Boil, mash, bake, roast, scalloped /au gratin, soups, salads.

Cascade

Oblong, white smooth skin with some slight cracking.

Boil, mash, bake, roast, scalloped/au gratin, soups, salads.

Yellows

Yukon Gold

Oval, somewhat flattened. Yellow-white skin and flesh. Pinkish around eyes. Darker color than Yellow Finn.

Bake, boil, mash, French Fry.

Yellow Finn

Flattened. Slightly sweeter than Yukon Gold.

Bake, boil, mash, French fry.

Provento

Round to oval. Light yellow flesh.

Bake, boil, mash, French fry.

Reds

Chieftain

Smooth, medium red skin, white flesh.

Boil, roast, steam, bake, scalloped/au gratin, soups, salads.

Norland

Oblong, smooth, slightly flattened medium red skin.

Boil, roast, steam, bake, scalloped/au gratin, soups, salads.

Red La Soda

Smooth deep red skin at harvest, color fades with time. Round to oblong.

Boil.

Klondike Rose

Oval with smooth red skin which turns brown with baking. Golden flesh, buttery flavor.

Steam, boil, mash, bake.

Blue/Purple

All Blue/Russian Blue

Smooth, thin purple skin, deep purple flesh. Fine, waxy texture, nutty flavor.

Bake, mash, fry, boil, steam.

Fingerlings

Russian Banana

Tapered, smooth, cream colored skin, butter

Boil, bake, steam, salads.

Ruby Crescent/French Fingerling

Reddish Skin, yellow flesh with red crescent in center, waxy.

Boil, steam.

Purchasing Potatoes

Whatever the variety, look for potatoes that are firm, smooth and fairly clean. Avoid those with wrinkled or wilted skins, soft dark areas, discoloration, cut or bruised surfaces or greening.

When purchasing potatoes consider:

  • Storability
  • Menu use
  • Cooking method
  • Plate presentation
  • Flavor
  • Color

Then specify by:

  • Variety
  • Size
  • Grade
  • Number of (50-pound) cartons

 

Sizes

Washington russets come in ten sizes, ranging from 35 count to 120 count per 50 pound box. The most popular sizes for food service are 70’s and 80’s. The sizes within a single box may vary slightly as long as the total weight is 50 pounds. For example, in a carton of 100 count potatoes (8 ounces each) there may be a few 6-ounce and a few 10 ounce potatoes.

carton.gif

Washington Whites, reds, yellows, and blues come in three sizes – A, B and C, measured by diameter. Size As have a minimum diameter of 1 7/8 inches and are about 6 ounces in weight. Size Bs run 1 ½ to 2 ¼ inches in diameter, and Cs, sometimes called creamers, are a minimum 1 inch in diameter.

Handling & Storage

At receiving, check the shipment against specs for variety, size/count, number and condition of boxes.

  • Avoid green tinged, sprouted or bruised potatoes.
  • Handle with care – do not throw or drop boxes as potatoes can bruise easily.
  • Move immediately into proper storage.

The right storage conditions will help potatoes maintain their quality. Store potatoes for all uses except French frying (see below) in a cool (42-45°F), dark, well-ventilated area, away from strong-smelling produce, preferably in closed or covered cartons and on pallets for air circulation. Store away from other fruits and vegetables, especially onions as they may transfer odors and gases that affect quality.

  • DO NOT refrigerate
  • DO NOT freeze
  • HANDLE carefully - potatoes can bruise
  • DO NOT wash potatoes until ready to peel or prepare

Here's why:

Temperatures warmer than 45°F encourage sprouting and shriveling; colder than 42°F encourage transformation of starch to sugar, which changes the taste and the cooking properties. There is one exception- see storage for Potatoes to be French fried.

Keep them in the dark. Storage in direct light can produce greening (actually the production of chlorophyll) which gives a bitter flavor and, in very large quantities, can be harmful to eat. Trim or peel small green spots before preparation. Discard very green potatoes.