Of the thousands of potato varieties known, only a handful of spuds have gone mainstream. Fall is the ideal time to try some lesser-known, late-season arrivals, like these:
- German Butterball. These are round or oblong with pale gold skin and yellow flesh. Its skin and flesh color mark the Butterball as an all-purpose potato, equally enjoyable baked, mashed or french-fried.
- Red Pontiac. This potato is red skinned, white fleshed, and round or oblong. Like other round reds, it produces creamy mashed or whipped potatoes.
- Katahdin. Round whites like the Katahin are firm potatoes, holding their shape when boiled for salads.
Whatever their color, potatoes should be of average size, smooth-skinned and firm. Wrinkles, shriveling and sprouts are signs of aging. They keep best in cool, dark, moderately humid conditions. A root cellar is ideal. If you'd rather not dig one, a basement staircase, a closet or cabinet, or an insulated porch or garage makes a good substitute. Keep them in a mesh or perforated plastic bag to allow air flow.
When is a potato not a potato? Our next page has the answer.