The thing I always want to know most about potatoes, especially when I see so many varieties available, is which one is best for what type of cooking and what the nutritional differences are.
But first let's sort out the basics.
What are potatoes made of?
A potato is about 20% carbohydrate, 75% water and 5% protein, vitamins and minerals.
What makes the varieties different to eachother?
Different types of potatoes vary in the amount of starch they contain. Starch is a type of carbohydrate along with sugar and fiber. As the starch content increases, the water content decreases and vice versa. This makes them cook differently and useful for different dishes.
A potato with high starch content is called a floury potato and best for mashing or baking (think fluffy).
A potato with low starch content is called a waxy potato and best for roasts, stews and salads (think sturdy).
(....in case you're wondering if baked and roast potatoes are the same. Baked potato - with skin on and baked from start to finish. Roast potato - peeled, par boiled and cooked with a roast)
I managed to find Mal having a break which is very unusual as these guys get so very busy at the market, and he was kind enough to take the time to chat with me about exactly what potatoes to use for what type of cooking (his answers are based on the varieties he has available at the moment). Here it is:
Nicola - this is a great potato for diabetes sufferers as it is one of the lowest in starch. This makes a great salad potato.
Winlock - great mashers
Dutch cream - great for anything
Sebago - general purpose cooking
Valour - great for roasts
Kipfler - perfect little gourmet potato, not for frying
Balarto pink - an old heritage potato. Has an earthy flavour, good for anything.
I hope this helps next time you go shopping for potatoes. For more info plus more potato varieties, you can check this article which I used as a reference.
They will also be at the Flemington Farmer's Market for the last time this season on Sunday 13th October, so go along and say hi, plus get yourself some of the best spuds in town. You can read a review about their business here.
Potatoes are a great part of a balanced diet, just don't eat too many of them to avoid weight gain and food related disease. The Healthy Mums Online 30 Week Program shows you how to enjoy carbohydrate rich foods like potatoes while controlling your weight naturally.
Your healthy friend,