Potatoes are a tuber, a tuber means a fleshy, food-storing swelling at the tip of an underground steam, also called a stolen. Potatoes have white, brown, purple, or red skin, and white or golden flesh.
Several varieties of potatoes are grown in different parts of the world and are available according to the seasons. They have different characteristics and some are more suitable for certain methods of cooking than others.
The deep green, leafy potato plants form multiple-stem shrubs topped late in the season with beautiful small purple and yellow flowers and small tomato-like fruits late in the season. Each new potato plant is grown from a piece of mature tuber planted in the ground. As plants grow, gardeners piles soil or mulch up around the lower few inches of stems so the newly-forming tubers are never exposed to direct sunlight, which can turn them green and bitter tasting.
Purchasing of a Potatoes
Inspect and select your potatoes before buying or on delivery. Choose firm, smooth does. Avoid excessively wrinkled, withered, cracked potatoes, and do not buy those that have a lot of sprouts or green areas.
Selection of Potatoes
The careful selection of potatoes to suit the job in hand is essential, as the variety chosen will be reflected in the end product.
Varieties of Potatoes
- Golden wonder
- King edward
- Maris piper
- Pink fir apple
Cooked potatoes have different textures, depending on whether they are ‘waxy’ of ‘floury’
varieties. This is due to changes that happen to the potatoes cells during cooking. ‘Waxy’ potatoes are translucent and may have a moist and pasty feel. ‘Floury’ potatoes are brighter and granular in appearance, leaving a drier feel. These differences influence the performance of the potato when cooked in different ways (e.g. boiling versus roasting).
During cooking, as noted above, the starch in the potato starts to absorb water and swells in size. gelatinise the starch, or they will look and taste undercooked.
A type rather than a variety, floury potatoes are especially popular. They are suitable for baking mashing and chipping as they have a soft, dry texture when cooked. They are not suitable for boiling, however, because they tend to disintegrate. Popular varieties of floury potato include King Edward and Maris Piper.
Waxy potatoes are more solid than floury potatoes and hold their shape when boiled, but do not mash well. They are particularly suitable for baked and layered potato dishes such as boulangrère potatoes. Popular varieties include Cara and Charlotte.
You can store potatoes for several months without affecting their quality: they should be stored at a constant temperature (3°C). If it is not possible to store them in this way, buying fresh potatoes regularly is best practice. There are three essential rules to bear in mind when storing potatoes: ‘dry, dark and cool’. You should avoid light at this will cause sprouting and eventually the greeting effect that contains mild toxins; if you have inadvertently purchased potatoes with this green tinge, remove the green bits and the rest of the potato is then fine to use.
The storage of the potato is perhaps the most important aspect of its life- closer the temperature is to the freezing point, the quicker the potato starch converts to sugar, producing a sweet flesh, but a loss of structure and often, discoloration.
Potatoes are good vitamin C, although this can be lost when they are stored, soaked in water, or cooked for too long. They also contain iron, calcium, thiamin(Vitamin B12), nicotine acid, protein, and fiber.