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Subject: baking potatoes on steroids
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: Muckerheide <muckerheide[at]mediaone.net>
Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2002 16:22:23 GMT
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At my local wholesale club they had nothing but 20 pound bags of GIGANTIC
russet potatoes, so I bought some.  Having baked some, they are extremely
watery, almost like boiled potatoes get if you leave them sitting in the
water once cooked. 

Is it crazy to reason that a rainy season will result in produce that holds
more water than usual?  If not, what explains berries that are runny even
when you follow a tried and true recipe using exactly the same amount of
thickener each time.

I will use up the potatoes, but they sure aren't choice!

Thanks.

Linda

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From: Arri London <biotech[at]ic.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2002 17:09:20 -0700
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We also bought the superhuge baking potatoes at
Sam's/Costco. However, they were excellent when baked. Very
mealy and floury. Not a speck of green under the skin
either, unlike the majority of potatoes sold around here.

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From: maxine in ri <weedfam[at]hotmail.coma>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 10:21:09 -0500
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I never use russets for baking or mashing, just frying.  No, I take
that back, we do mash them sometimes.  haven't had that problem.

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From: Janet Bostwick <nospam[at]cableone.net>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 09:05:26 -0700
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maxine in ri wrote:
> I never use russets for baking or mashing, just frying.  No, I take
> that back, we do mash them sometimes.  haven't had that problem.

What do you use for baking and mashing?

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From: penmart01[at]aol.como (Sheldon)
Date: 10 Jan 2002 16:04:18 GMT
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Muckerheide wrote:
>At my local wholesale club they had nothing but 20 pound bags of
>GIGANTIC russet potatoes, so I bought some.  Having baked some, 
>they are extremely watery, 

Those biguns are Chef Grade, generally not available this time of year unless
they are sub par for commercial use... they probably suffered some frost
damage.  Frost damage will rupture the potato cells, causing edema.  What did
you pay for those 20# of spuds, I bet not much, that's why you bought them.

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From: Muckerheide <muckerheide[at]mediaone.net>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 21:15:52 GMT
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Sheldon wrote:
> Those biguns are Chef Grade, generally not available this time of year unless
> they are sub par for commercial use... they probably suffered some frost
> damage.  Frost damage will rupture the potato cells, causing edema.  What did
> you pay for those 20# of spuds, I bet not much, that's why you bought them.

Actually, I don't think they were a steal or anyhthing, although I can't
recall just how much they were.  I remember buying them so I wouldn' t have
to go to another store on the way home.
   
COSTCO has them year-round that size. You can either get these behemoths or
the #2 red or white ones which are clearly a little puny for baking.  Just
can't win!

Linda

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From: Janet Bostwick <nospam[at]cableone.net>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 17:05:36 -0700
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Muckerheide wrote:
> COSTCO has them year-round that size. You can either get these behemoths or
> the #2 red or white ones which are clearly a little puny for baking.  Just
> can't win!

The little red or white ones are a different kind of potato that is not good
for baking in the sense of a "baked potato."  You can roast, boil and fry
them.  They are good for potato salad. They cook up well in soups because
they don't mush up and fall apart with long cooking.  Baking potatoes
generally don't work as well for potato salad because they do tend to mush
up; this is an advantage when you want baked or mashed potatoes.

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From: chriscordell[at]webtv.net (C Cordell)
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002 14:58:48 -0700 (MST)
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When I made potato soup a few days ago, the spuds cooked into mush in
just 10 minutes. Usually takes at least 30 minutes and absent-mindedness
to get that. I wonder if we're getting new-crop potatoes from somewhere?
I remember my grandmother used to complain that new potatoes were
"slimy." She would never mash new potatoes, just put them through the
ricer, then we seasoned them on our plates as if they were baked.

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From: Janet Bostwick <nospam[at]cableone.net>
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002 16:20:06 -0700
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C Cordell wrote:
> When I made potato soup a few days ago, the spuds cooked into mush in
> just 10 minutes. Usually takes at least 30 minutes and absent-mindedness
> to get that. I wonder if we're getting new-crop potatoes from somewhere?

I eat potatoes straight from my garden all the time.  During the growing
season, I reach into the dirt and pick the little ones from the plant;  I
grow russets, red potatoes, Yukon, little white ones.  It doesn't matter,
fresh ones are absolutely wonderful.  Buying "new potatoes" at the store
used to mean that you were getting the small, young potatoes that were
especially good for making with creamed sauces that included pearl onions or
fresh peas.  Now, the small potatoes at the store are from varieties that
are especially grown for size to meet a special need.  It's more likely that
your potatoes suffered through a cold, wet growing season or froze on the
way to market or on the loading dock.

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From: MH <bastzine[at]worldnet.att.net>
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2002 01:36:34 GMT
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I had a huge vegetable and flower garden when I lived in a house a few years
back. There were always a couple potatoes that didn't get picked and they
grew to enormous size.

Dinner tonight: Roasted pork roast with vegies and freshly-baked apple pie.

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From: maxine in ri <weedfam[at]hotmail.coma>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 11:24:02 -0500
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Janet Bostwick wrote:
> What do you use for baking and mashing?

Idahos and Maines.

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From: penmart01[at]aol.como (Sheldon)
Date: 10 Jan 2002 16:50:32 GMT
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maxine in ri writes:
>Idahos and Maines.

Idaho and Maine potatoes sold in stupidmarkets are almost always a variety of
the Russet, Red, or Round Whites.  Idaho or Maine or Long Island or California,
etal. are designations which merely indicate origin, not variety.

http://www.mainepotatoes.com/varieties.html

Varieties 
Maine potato fields are home to a wide range of potato varieties. The varieties
grown here are a mix of traditional and recently developed varieties, providing
the tablestock and processing markets with an assortment of choices from round
whites to russets to reds. Some of the most common varieties and their
characteristics are shown below. 

RUSSETS 

RUSSET BURBANK 

This is a late maturing variety that requires a 140 to 150 day growing season
to produce maximum yields and quality. Yields are moderately high and tubers
are large , long and cylindrical or slightly flattened with russeted skin and
white flesh. The Russet Burbank is the standard for excellent baking and
processing quality. It is a good long-term storage potato for tablestock and
processing. Specific gravity ranges from 1.075 to 1.105. 

RUSSET NORKOTAH 

This is an early to medium potato variety grown primarily for the fresh market.
Yields are medium and tuber specific gravity ranges from 1.065 to 1.085. Tubers
are long to oblong and smooth with white flesh . It has a very attractive
general appearance with a high percentage of U.S. #1 tubers. The Russet
Norkotah is an excellent baker and boils well. 

ROUND WHITES 

SHEPODY 

This is a medium-late maturing variety and is grown primarily for the
processing industry. Tubers are long to oblong with a smooth to lightly netted
white skin and white flesh. Tubers set late, but size-up quickly. Specific
gravity is medium to high ranging from 1.075 to 1.100. The Shepody is excellent
baked and fried and also boils very well making it a very good table or fresh
product 

ATLANTIC 

This is a medium maturing potato which was developed primarily for the potato
chip industry. It has high specific gravity ranging from 1.085 to 1.115. Tubers
are oval to round with light to heavily netted skin and white flesh. The
Atlantic is excellent baked, chipped or fried but does not boil well. 

SUPERIOR 

This is an early to medium maturing variety with moderately high yields. Tubers
are round to oblong and slightly irregular with white flesh. The skin is buff
in color and has a tendency to form a light flaky net. Specific gravity ranges
from 1.070 to .095. The Superior is a primary fresh market variety that bakes,
boils and fries very well. It also works very well as a processing variety
early. 

NORWIS 

This is a medium to late maturing variety with blocky to oval and slightly
flattened tubers with smooth white to tan skin color. Flesh color is a pale
yellow to cream color and has a high yield potential. Tubers tend to be large
with a specific gravity ranging from 1.075 to 1.090. The Norwis was initially
developed as a potato chip variety, but does very well in the fresh market. It
is an excellent baker and boils well. 

KATAHDIN 

This is a medium to late maturing variety with medium to high yields. This
variety gained prominence in the forty's and maintained its importance through
the 1970's. During this time it was the major white-skinned variety in the
northeast because of its consistent performance as a tablestock potato . Tubers
are round to oblong with a buff, smooth skin and creamy white flesh. Specific
gravity ranges from 1.065 to 1.085 This is a premium fresh market potato .
Excellent for baking and boiling. 

KENNEBEC 

This variety is widely adapted to production in many parts of the world and at
one time was the primary variety used in potato chip production. It was also
important in French fry processing. On the tablestock market, its reputation
for good culinary quality is well known. This variety produces a high yield of
large oblong tubers with thin smooth white skin and white flesh. Specific
gravity ranges from 1.075 to 1.100. The Kennebec is excellent for baking,
boiling, chipping and frying. It is a very popular exporting variety to all
parts of the world. 

RED POTATOES 

DARK RED NORLAND 

The Dark Red Norland is a widely adapted, early maturing variety. Tubers are
excellent for boiling and frying. The oblong shape of the tuber is smooth,
flattened, and medium red in color.

RED LA SODA

This variety is typically a high yielding variety with a bright red color. The
skin texture is smooth and the tuber has an overall round to oblong shape. The
Red La Soda's low specific gravity make it well suited for boiling.

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From: Janet Bostwick <nospam[at]cableone.net>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 11:33:02 -0700
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> Idahos and Maines.

Idaho potatoes are Russets.

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From: bkeagle[at]concord.com (Brion Keagle)
Date: 10 Jan 2002 10:36:18 -0800
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Muckerheide wrote:
> Is it crazy to reason that a rainy season will result in produce that holds
> more water than usual?  If not, what explains berries that are runny even
> when you follow a tried and true recipe using exactly the same amount of
> thickener each time.

It's not crazy at all.  Ask anyone who grows grapes for wine
production!

I think pretty much all fruits and berries will swell with excess
water if the season is wet.  For this reason too much water is
undesirable, as it dilutes the flavor.  (I guess it wouldn't be
undesirable if you are selling fruit by the pound, in which case extra
water weight means more profit!).

I've never heard of it happening to potatoes, but it wouldn't surprise
me to learn that it does.


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