By Reese Burns, Assistant Editor
Potatoes. Earth’s starchy little delicacy. Growing throughout the Americas and originating in Peru, these beloved root vegetables have become a global favorite. The reason behind such popularity with potatoes is variety. There are so many different breeds of potatoes and endless methods of preparing them. With potatoes, life is never boring.
As of February 2021, there are known to be 13 different kinds of potatoes, excluding the 35 types of sweet potatoes! However, I am hopeful of new potato discoveries as we uncover more of the unknown mysteries of Earth and space. Perhaps space potatoes will be identified on Mars following the recent landing of the Perseverance rover. Anyways, potatoes can be classified into 3 categories: starchy, waxy, and all-purpose.
Starchy potatoes are obviously high in starch and low in moisture. Potatoes classified as starchy include the Idaho Russet and the Katahdin. Waxy potatoes are rather low in their starch content when compared to the other classifications, but they are famous for their creamy texture and for maintaining a beautiful shape after cooking. Red Bliss, New Potatoes, Adirondack Blue, Adirondack Red, Fingerling (not going to lie, probably my favorite), Carola, Inca Gold, Rose Gold, and Purple Viking are all waxy potatoes. Last, but not least, all-purpose potatoes fall in between waxy and starchy and are truly multi-purpose. All-purpose categorized potatoes encompass the Yukon Gold and the Purple Peruvian. Can we just give a round of applause to whoever named all these potatoes? Wow.
Now, onto the different cooking and baking methods of potatoes. There are approximately 27 popular varieties of cooking practices when dealing with potatoes but the possibilities are endless. Starting with the basics there are baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, and french fries. Idaho Russets are typically ideal when focusing on these areas of potato styling. Next, I am just going to list all the other ways to prepare potatoes because I don’t want to lose your attention with all the nitty-gritty details. Potato pancakes (yes), potato hash, gnocchi (no words to describe this exquisite dish), baked potato wedges, potatoes au gratin, potato bread, potato skins, cheesy potatoes, tater tots, roast/ed potatoes with herbs (rosemary+potatoes=love), blitva, croquettes, potato salad, potato soup, twice baked potatoes, potato chips, potato curry, Hasselback potatoes, potato waffles, potato pizza, and potato pie.
Contrary to popular belief, sweet potatoes aren’t actually a type of potato. They are their own little root species. To be more specific, sweet potatoes are a “dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the bindweed or morning glory family, Convolvulaceae.” Thank you, Wikipedia. Nonetheless, they are my favorite food of all time. Let’s be honest, you can’t beat a good old-fashioned sweet potato. It’s not possible. As I said before, there are 35 different types of sweet potatoes and even more ways to prepare them than the typical potato. If desired, I will construct a sweet potato guide where all the different species and preparation methods are outlined.
Hopefully, I did the potatoes the great honor of providing the community with some fun facts about them. Take this opportunity to get inspired and make yourself a potato. I’m in the mood for some baked potato wedges. How many times did I say potato?