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.
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:
- Menu use
- Cooking method
- Plate presentation
Then specify by:
- Number of (50-pound) cartons
Washington russets come in ten sizes, ranging from 35 count to 120 count per 50-pound box. 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.
Washington whites, reds, yellows, and blues come in three sizes – A, B and C, measured by diameter. Size A’s have a minimum diameter of 1 7/8 inches and are about 6 ounces in weight. Size B’s run 1 ½ to 2 ¼ inches in diameter, and C’s, sometimes called creamers, are a minimum 1 inch in diameter.
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 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, as they may transfer odors and gases that affect quality.
DO NOT refrigerate
DO NOT freeze
DO NOT wash potatoes until ready to peel or prepare
HANDLE carefully – potatoes can bruise
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.
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.