Types: Potatoes?

Subject: Potatoes?
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking
From: The Ranger (cuhulain__98 at yahoo.com)
Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 09:26:49 -0700
Went to the local supermarket and saw two "new" potatoes (new for me, at least); a purple potato and a Kensington Potato. The purple potatoes were the size of new potatoes, dark-skinned, and "heavy" compared to other potatoes of similar size (Yukon or white). The Kensington are HUGE, again compared to the white or Yukon potatoes. There weren't any notes on these two potatoes and was curious if anyone could offer some type of description for them? I'm curious if the purple potatoes are a marketing gimmick, too.
From: wvriter (wvriter at hotmail.com)
Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 14:43:48 -0400
Nope, I ate them in Peru. Tasty, but the color isn't stable.
From: penmart10 at aol.com (Sheldon)
Date: 30 May 1999 21:12:35 GMT
Potato: "The ancient Incas were cultivating this humble tuber thousands of years ago. The potato was not readily accepted in Europe, however, because it was known to be a member of the nightshade family (as are the tomato and eggplant) and therefore thought to be poisonous. In the 16th century, Sir Walter Raleigh was instrumental in debunking the poisonous potato superstition when he planted them on property he owned in Ireland. The Irish knew a good thing when they saw it and a hundred years later were growing and consuming the potato in great quantities. Today, hundreds of varieties of this popular vegetable are grown around the world. In America, the potato can be divided into four basic categories: russet, long white, round white and round red. The russet Burbank potato (also simply called russet and Idaho ) is long, slightly rounded and has a brown, rough skin and numerous eyes. Its low moisture and high starch content not only give it superior baking qualities but also make it excellent for FRENCH FRIES. The russet Burbank was named for its developer, horticulturalist Luther Burbank of Idaho. Although grown throughout the Midwest, the russet is also commonly called IDAHO POTATO (whether or not it's grown there). Long white potatoes have a similar shape as the russet but they have thin, pale gray-brown skins with almost imperceptible eyes. They're sometimes called white rose or California long whites , after the state in which they were developed. Long whites can be baked, boiled or fried. The thumb-sized baby long whites are called finger potatoes. The medium-size round white and round red potatoes are also commonly referred to as boiling potatoes. They're almost identical except that the round white has a freckled brown skin and the round red a reddish-brown coat. They both have a waxy flesh that contains less starch and more moisture than the russet and long white. This makes them better suited for boiling (they're both commonly used to make mashed potatoes) than for baking. They're also good for roasting and frying. The round white is grown mainly in the Northeast where it's sometimes referred to by one of its variety names, Katahdin . The round red is cultivated mainly in the Northwest. Yukon gold potatoes have a skin and flesh that ranges from buttery yellow to golden. These boiling potatoes have a moist, almost succulent texture and make excellent mashed potatoes."

"There are a variety of relatively new potatoes in the marketplace, most of which aren't new at all but rather heritage vegetables that date back centuries. Among the more distinctive examples are the all blue potatoes, which range in color from bluish purple to purple-black. These small potatoes have a dense texture and are good for boiling. Other purple potatoes have skin colors that range from lavender to dark blue and flesh that can be from white to beige with purple streaking. Among the red-fleshed potatoes are the huckleberry (red skin and flesh) and the blossom (pinkish-red skin and flesh)."

"New potatoes are simply young potatoes (any variety). They haven't had time to convert their sugar fully into starch and consequently have a crisp, waxy texture and thin, undeveloped wispy skins. New potatoes are small enough to cook whole and are excellent boiled or pan-roasted. Because they retain their shape after being cooked and cut, new potatoes are particularly suited for use in potato salad. The season for new potatoes is spring to early summer."

"Potatoes of one variety or another are available year-round. Choose potatoes that are suitable for the desired method of cooking. All potatoes should be firm, well-shaped (for their type) and blemish-free. New potatoes may be missing some of their feathery skin but other types should not have any bald spots. Avoid potatoes that are wrinkled, sprouted or cracked. A green tinge -- indicative of prolonged light exposure -- is caused by the alkaloid solanine, which can be toxic if eaten in quantity. This bitter green portion can be cut or scraped off and the potato used in the normal fashion. Store potatoes in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place for up to 2 weeks. New potatoes should be used within 3 days of purchase. Refrigerating potatoes causes them to become quite sweet and to turn dark when cooked. Warm temperatures encourage sprouting and shriveling."

"Potatoes are probably the most versatile vegetable in the world and can be cooked in any way imaginable. They're available in a wide selection of commercial products including POTATO CHIPS, instant mashed potatoes (dehydrated cooked potatoes), canned new potatoes and a plethora of frozen products including HASH BROWNS, FRENCH FRIES and stuffed baked potatoes. Potatoes are not at all hard on the waistline (a 6-ounce potato contains only about 120 calories) and pack a nutritional punch. They're low in sodium, high in potassium and an important source of complex carbohydrates and vitamins C and B-6, as well as a storehouse of minerals. Neither SWEET POTATOES nor YAMS are botanically related to the potato." (Epicurious)
From: spudds at guinness.com (Cheryl)
Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 00:27:06 GMT
Thanks for the info, Sheldon. Another good resource regarding these teriffic tubers is called "The Potato: How the Humble Spud Rescued the Western World" by Larry Zuckerman. It was given to me as a sort of gag wedding gift by a 'net buddy from Texas (because of my nickname) who didn't know that I have an interest in historical foodie stuff... I read it cover to cover and found it fascinating!
From: stan at tempest.temple.edu (Stanley Horwitz)
Date: 2 Jun 1999 23:22:46 GMT
Spuds are a member of the nightshade family? I knew that was the case for the tomato which is a berry, but I had no idea that root vegies such as the potato are in that same family. Maybe that's why potatoes and tomatoes are two of my most favorite foods!
From: penmart10 at aol.com (Sheldon)
Date: 03 Jun 1999 00:09:42 GMT
Stanley Horwitz writes:
>Spuds are a member of the nightshade family? I knew that was the case for
>the tomato which is a berry, but I had no idea that root vegies such as
>the potato are in that same family. Maybe that's why potatoes and tomatoes
>are two of my most favorite foods!

Yep, French Fries n' Heinz! ;)
From: spudds at guinness.com (Cheryl)
Date: Thu, 03 Jun 1999 05:59:37 GMT
>Spuds are a member of the nightshade family?

Yep, but we tubers aren't *really* dangerous unless you eat too much of us! :-)
From: A.Ferszt (aferszt at ic.ac.uk)
Date: Thu, 03 Jun 1999 10:34:01 +0100
It's not a case of root vegs in general. But yes, potatoes are members of the nightshade family...a look at the leaves and flowers will make that clear (assuming you know what other members of the family look like of course!).
From: Farmer John (fudge at mv.igs.net)
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 10:02:25 -0400
I heard of a potato vodka made in the U.S.A. called SPUDKA which claims to be made with purple potato mash. The original Andean potato strains look and taste nothing like todays hybrids. They contain some bad tasting alkaloids. My personal favourite is the 1980 Canadian developed Yukon Gold. Most Canadian seed companies that offer seed potatoes usually offer a blue, purple or red cultivar.
From: Ceil Wallace (actyankee at worldnet.att.net)
Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 16:39:18 -0400
From what I know of purple potatoes, they are most likely of an heirloom variety. My mother used to grow blue potatoes she got from her native Poland. They will cook up white although I'm not too familiar if they are dense, flakey or what but I think they are a good boiling spud. The market probably has just discovered them and is using them as a novelty, but they are definitely not a gimmick. Kensington is not a variety I am familiar with at all.