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Potato, potahto? Chef tips on potato varieties and how to cook them

Selection of different potato varieties on dark grey backgroundHave you ever gone to the supermarket and scratched your head at the different types of potatoes on display? Senior cuisine lecturer Andrew Summers from Le Cordon Bleu Adelaide has some great advice on potato varieties and how best to cook them.

When we go to the supermarket, quite often we come across potatoes as being simply red or white.

But, according to Le Cordon Bleu Adelaide’s senior cuisine lecturer, Andrew Summers, there’s a much broader range of potatoes available on the market, and each one has got a very specific purpose which depends on their characteristics.

He says there are three main groups of potatoes – those that are waxy, floury and somewhere in between (all-purpose).

“The things we need to look at are how much moisture, sugar and starch are in the potato and all those things will contribute to how the potato will turn out once cooked,” he says.

“If we have a potato that’s high in sugar, when we deep fry it the sugar will caramelise and you’ll end up with a soft, unevenly brown potato and that’s why we choose a more floury potato for that.

“If you have a potato that’s got quite a thick skin or is an older potato and you boil it, it’ll end up falling apart as it absorbs too much moisture, so we have complete disaster if we choose the wrong potato.”

Here are seven types of potatoes, their characteristics and what they’re good for when it comes to meal preparation:

Kestrel potato

Kestrel is a relatively new type of potato with its sideways, purple facing eyes. This is an all-purpose potato with reasonably high starch content. It has good moisture and is great for making chips, boiling or baking.

Sebago potato

Sebago is always sold as an unwashed brush potato. It’s got a slightly elongated body and some sideways eyes. This is one of the best potatoes for deep frying or baking as it’s considered floury.

Blue Moon potato

Blue Moon is commonly known as ‘Royal Blue’ potato. When cooked, it turns to a brown colour. This is an all-purpose potato, great for roasting or boiling as it’s waxy, therefore won’t fall apart.

Kipfler potato

This potato is long with sideways eyes. It’s a classic waxy potato and best for things like potato salad. It has a wonderful flavour with high sugar content, however is not great for mash or fries.

Purple Bliss potato

This is one of the healthiest potatoes you can eat, due to high anthocyanins in its colour pigment. Unlike the Blue Moon potato, the inside of this potato is bright purple and retains that colour even after cooking. It’s perfect for croquettes or mashed potato and is sure to shock your guests at the next dinner party with its vibrant colour.

Désirée potato

One of Chef Andrew’s all-time favourite potatoes is the Désirée. This is the number one go-to potato for boiling. It’s also ok to bake as it has a nice firm texture without being chewy.

Dutch Cream potato

The Dutch Cream potato is one of the main potatoes used on restaurant menus and is great for roasting or baking. With its slightly nutty, creamy texture inside, the Dutch Cream is a good all-rounder and can even be used in a warm potato salad.

Feeling a little adventurous? Watch Chef Andrew's video below!

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