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Subject: Potatoes?
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: The Ranger 
Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 09:26:49 -0700
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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.

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From: wvriter 
Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 14:43:48 -0400
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Nope, I ate them in Peru.  Tasty, but the color isn't stable.

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From: penmart10[at]aol.com (Sheldon)
Date: 30 May 1999 21:12:35 GMT
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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)

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From: spudds[at]guinness.com (Cheryl)
Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 00:27:06 GMT
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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! 

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From: stan[at]tempest.temple.edu (Stanley Horwitz)
Date: 2 Jun 1999 23:22:46 GMT
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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! 

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From: penmart10[at]aol.com (Sheldon)
Date: 03 Jun 1999 00:09:42 GMT
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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! ;)

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From: spudds[at]guinness.com (Cheryl)
Date: Thu, 03 Jun 1999 05:59:37 GMT
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>Spuds are a member of the nightshade family? 

Yep, but we tubers aren't *really* dangerous unless you eat too much
of us! :-)

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From: A.Ferszt 
Date: Thu, 03 Jun 1999 10:34:01 +0100
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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!).

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From: Farmer John 
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 10:02:25 -0400
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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.

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From: Ceil Wallace 
Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 16:39:18 -0400
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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.


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