The World Of Potatoes
The humble spud would have to be one of the most versatile vegetables around. We use them in everything – from eating them in their jackets, to soup bases, chips, salads, mashes, and roasts. In fact the annual diet of an average person in the first decade of the 21st century included about 33 kg of potato.
While the potato is a vegetable, many health and diet experts advise that people consider them as a starch or they advocate for reclassifying the potato as a starch entirely.
There are about 5,000 potato varieties worldwide. Three thousand of them are found in the Andes alone, mainly in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Colombia. They belong to eight or nine species. Apart from the 5,000 cultivated varieties, there are about 200 wild species and subspecies, many of which can be cross-bred with cultivated varieties, which has been done repeatedly to transfer resistances to certain pests and diseases from the gene pool of wild species to the gene pool of cultivated potato species. Genetically modified varieties have met public resistance in the United States and in the European Union. The list below will give you a good idea of what is available in Australia, and a bit about them.
COLIBAN: A floury white fleshed potato that is good for mashing, baking and roasting and is used to make French fries. Widely available in Australia.
DESIREE: A very popular all-rounder with pink skin and pale yellow, firm flesh that holds its shape well so is excellent boiled, baked, mashed and in salads but not recommended for frying.
DUTCH CREAMS: The queen of potatoes! They’re a large waxy oval potato with yellow flesh, thin skin and a rich, buttery taste. They make gorgeous mash or are equally delicious boiled, roasted, baked and pureed.
GOLDEN DELIGHT: An oval, all-rounder potato with yellow smooth skin and cream flesh. It’s best mashed, roasted or fried.
KENNEBEC: An all-rounder and old favourite with white firm flesh and thin skin. Its good for baking, boiling and is very popular for chips.
KING EDWARD: A very old variety with a floury texture and creamy white flesh with a round to oval shape and smooth pale skin with pink markings. Its floury texture means it makes beautiful mash, fluffy roast potatoes and can be dry baked but is not recommended for salads or frying.
KIPFLER: A waxy, finger-shaped, knobbly potato with yellow skin and a light yellow flesh with a buttery nutty taste that is great boiled, steamed, in salads and roasted but not recommended for frying or chips.
NADINE: A waxy potato with white, firm flesh and skin that holds its shape well when boiled or microwaved. Not recommended for frying.
NICOLA: A long to oval-shaped waxy potato with yellow skin and flesh with a buttery flavour. Makes a terrific salad or boiling potato but is also great for mash, dry baking and gratins and baked dishes but not recommended for frying.
OTWAY RED: An oval-shaped all-rounder with red smooth skin and cream flesh. Great results when mashed, roasted or fried.
PATRONE: Has a light yellow skin and flesh. Its firm, waxy texture makes it excellent for roasting, baking and it’s called the ‘ultimate’ potato salad potato. Not well suited for mashing.
PINK EYE (or Southern Gold): A waxy, yellow-fleshed potato with a nutty flavour that makes great salads and can be boiled, steamed or baked.
PINK FIR APPLE: An old English heritage variety that is long and knobbly with pale pink skin. This potato is waxy and very firm so it’s great for salads and boiling and has been called the ‘ultimate’ potato salad potato. Not recommended for roasting. Cook these potatoes in the skin because they are hard to peel.
PONTIAC: A very reliable all-rounder with pink skin and white flesh. Great to boil, bake, roast, microwave and mash but not so suitable for frying.
PURPLE CONGO: A waxy potato with purple skin and flesh which adds an interesting colour to meals. This potato is good for mashing, steaming, boiling, microwaving and salads but not good for roasting and can have a dry texture when cooked.
RED RASCAL: An oval-shaped, all-rounder with dark red skin and clean white flesh with a full flavour. Best boiled, baked, mashed, roasted or fried.
ROYAL BLUE: An oval-shaped all-rounder with purple skin and yellow flesh that makes wonderful mash, great roast potatoes and chips and is a versatile potato suitable for all cooking purposes.
SEBAGO: A long to oval shaped all-rounder with white flesh and skin that’s common in supermarkets and green grocers around Australia. This potato is great for boiling, mash, roasting, baking, chips and mash.
SPUNTA: A yellow-fleshed all-rounder that is good boiled or steamed and makes lovely potato salad.
TOOLANGI DELIGHT: A potato developed in Australia. This all-rounder has deep dimples and white flesh and is great mashed, baked, fried and excellent for gnocchi.
‘NEW’ POTATOES: These potatoes are ‘baby’ freshly harvested potatoes that have a white skin and white, firm flesh and are small and sweet. They are all-rounders great for boiling, steaming, pan frying, poaching and roasting.
Pink Eye (Southern Gold)
Pink Fir Apple