Did You Know?
The average American eats about 140 pounds of potatoes a year.
In ancient Peru, where the potato originated, there were more than a thousand words for the spud.
Whoever coined the phrase couch potato got it wrong -- these spuds are no slouches. Potatoes contain complex carbohydrates, which are slowly digested to provide a steady supply of energy. They're also a big source of vitamin C, with nearly a quarter of the recommended daily allowance in one serving. The vitamin, along with other nutrients, lies just under the skin; if you peel potatoes, remove only a thin layer to preserve this part.
Potatoes come in many sizes and colors, including blue and pink. For our recipes, we used three familiar kinds: round red, long russet, and Yukon gold. Round red potatoes have a waxy flesh, which helps them keep their shape during boiling. Long russets, such as Idaho, have a starchy flesh; the high starch content makes them ideal for baking and mashing, since they become crumbly and fluffy when cooked. Yukon golds have a good balance of waxiness and starchiness; they're well suited to boiling, mashing, frying, and baking.
Store potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place, not in the refrigerator. Why? Temperatures that are too cold turn starch into sugar, resulting in a sweet taste, and harmful chemicals can form; warm temperatures cause eyes to sprout; and light makes potatoes green. Before using, cut out any green spots and eyes. If properly stored, potatoes will keep for two months.