When it comes to America's favorite root vegetable, the humble potato, there's a lot of information to sort through out there. It can be overwhelming, much like encountering the sheer variety of potatoes at a farmers' market, for example. But The Daily Meal has boiled everything down to the essentials to help you get the most out of your spuds, with the most important shopping tips, cooking tips, and of course, recipes.
Potatoes aren't a dime a dozen anymore, but potato recipes are. So how does a home cook sort through all of them? The Daily Meal has rounded up 17 of its best potato recipes to help take the guesswork out of the equation. Check out the slideshow to see what's cooking.
In general, look for potatoes that are firm and smooth. Avoid potatoes that have turned green or sprouted, a sign of age.
Potatoes come in three basic varieties: starchy (aka all-purpose or baking), waxy, and medium-starch potatoes.
Starchy potatoes such as russets, Idahos, and Kennebecs are great for frying, baking, and mashing. Starchy potatoes contain less water than waxy potatoes and the starch expands when cooked, resulting in an airy texture.
Waxy potatoes like red bliss and new potatoes work best in soups, stews, gratins, and salads because they hold together when cooked.
Medium-starch potatoes like Yukon Golds, and purple Peruvians are right in between in terms of moisture content, and are versatile in use.
Keep them in the dark. Potatoes are best stored in a cool, dark, dry place, but not in the refrigerator. The refrigerator is too cold and will cause the starch in the potatoes to turn into sugar. It's important to keep them in the dark, since light causes potatoes to sprout or turn green and develop a compound called solanine, which is toxic and can make you ill. If stored correctly, potatoes can keep for two weeks.
Just like apples. Sliced potatoes oxidize and turn brown when exposed to air for too long, so to keep this from happening, place them in cold water.
Worthless? If you cut into a potato and discover that parts of it are already turning brown, that's a different story. It's a sign that the vitamin C in the potato is gone.