First, when you buy your potatoes, be on the watch for potatoes that are both firm and smooth. Do not buy potatoes that have a skin that is wilted or wrinkled. Also avoid ones with dark or soft spots and any potatoes that are green at all. If you need to have many potatoes for your particular recipe, try to choose potatoes that all are about the same size. This makes for better and more even cooking.
To store your potatoes, you will want to keep them in a place that is both cool and dark and his good ventilation. The best temperature for storing potatoes is 45-50 degrees F. At this temperature, your potatoes will keep for at least a month. Many people store their potatoes at room temperature, so they will not last as long. However, do not ever store potatoes in your refrigerator. The problem with this is your potatoes will get a rather sweet taste and will affect your recipes. If you are storing your potatoes at room temperature, try to use them up within a week. Also, after you have cooked your meal, it is not advisable to freeze potato leftovers. They will get very watery when you reheat them.
Next, be sure to avoid potato sprouts! These growths are toxic and can make you sick. Don’t worry: Eating one or two is not going to hurt you, but you will get an upset stomach if you eat many of them. Avoid buying any potatoes that have green skin or have sprouted at all. The green tinge on some potatoes is because of a buildup of a toxic chemical called solanine. If you eat a lot of green potatoes, you will get sick. If some of your potatoes have a bit of a green tinge on some parts, just cut away that part as you are preparing your meal.
When it comes to cooking your potatoes, here are some handy rules of thumb:
• 1.25 pounds of potatoes = 3 medium-sized potatoes
• 3 cups of chopped or sliced potatoes = 2 or 3 cups of mashed potatoes
Potatoes are easy to cook and are more healthy for you when you leave the skin on. You should always wash and scrub your potatoes before you cook with them. When you cut up your potatoes for cooking, you should keep them in cold water. This will keep their natural whitish color. You should not let them soak for more than 2 hours so you do not lose the vitamins in them. If your potatoes get a discoloration that is pink or brown, what is happening is the carbohydrates in them are undergoing a reaction with the air’s oxygen. They are still fine to eat and the discoloring will fade as you cook them.
If you want to boil potatoes, you should begin the process in cold water. Cold water will make them cook evenly and better heat penetration. Make sure you do not cool your potatoes in cold water. This will make them very mushy and soggy.
With baked potatoes, be sure to pierce the potato several times with a fork so steam can get out. To get a very crispy skin, you should put oil or butter on the skin before cooking. If you want the skin to be soft, leave it totally dry. Remember that if you put foil around your potato, you are actually steaming it, not baking it. This will give your potato a very different texture when eating.