How do I know which potato to use in a recipe?  

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If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

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The difference in potatoes really comes down to how starchy or waxy they are—which is, in turn, related to the potato’s moisture content.

What we normally call a baking potato—or a Russet or Idaho—is a high starch potato. It is low in moisture and makes great, fluffy baked potatoes and is ideal for French fries. 

For more information on baking potatoes, see 7 Ways with Baking Potatoes.

Boiling potatoes—a.k.a. red potatoes or red bliss, are waxy. They are lower in starch, which means when you cook them, they retain their shape better. Use boiling potatoes for potato salad. As an added bonus, the thin red skins also look nice in a salad—and leaving them on packs in extra nutrients. 

 

Marge Perry
Sep, 2012
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