Potatoes

Potatoes

General Information: There are many varieties of potatoes available in Switzerland. General knowledge about the basic characteristics of each variety is useful, as is how to best prepare them. New potatoes are by definition potatoes that still had the green tops attached when they were harvested. They are usually small, have thin skins and a firm flesh. New potatoes are best served whole and unpeeled. Waxy potatoes are larger, with thicker skins. They are usually peeled. Varieties in Switzerland include Charlotte, Nicola and Stella. Waxy potatoes are best in recipes that require the potato to hold its shape, such as sautéed, in potato salads or in gratins. Starchy potatoes are best for mashing and frying. The suitable varieties of starchy potatoes in Switzerland include Agria, Bintje, Fontane, and Désirée.

Season: New potatoes are available beginning in April. The best time to purchase fresh Swiss potatoes is from June through October. Potatoes keep well when stored correctly, so it is relatively easy to find fresh potatoes throughout the winter months. Only the late winter and early spring months are difficult for potatoes.

Purchasing Tips: All potatoes should be firm, well-shaped 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 – indicates the presence of a harmful alkaloid, which can be toxic if eaten in quantity.

Storage: Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place for up to 2 weeks. New potatoes should be used within 3 days of purchase. Refrigerated potatoes will be sweet when cooked, and they will turn a dark color.

Cooking Tips: Potatoes with high starch contents, like the American Russet or Yukon Gold, which are best baked or for used to make mashed potatoes. Starchy varieties in Switzerland include: Bintje, Désirée, Agria, and Fontane. Waxy potatoes stay firm when they are cooked and are best used in preparing gratins, rösti, boiled, and steamed.

Nutritional Info: Low in calories and sodium, and high in potassium, carbohydrates, vitamins C and B-6, and essential minerals.

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