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The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Potatoes — Humble Yet Divine

This week I am honored to focus on the humble spud, also known as the potato, the totally tempting tuber that once fascinated British naturalist Charles Darwin during an expedition to South America. Turns out potatoes can produce nutritious food faster than any other food crop, using less land and in just about any environment! Potatoes were first cultivated about 7, 000 years ago in South America, where their early reputation was neither humble nor happy. The Spanish first encountered them in Peru and took them back to Europe where they were regarded with tremendous suspicion, trepidation and fear. The poor potato was considered unfit for human consumption and only suitable as animal fodder or food for starving people. Eventually, the “upper class” in Europe recognized the potato’s true potential, and slowly but surely, the humble spud gained its rightful popularity. Potatoes are amazing in plenty of dishes, whether roasted, grated, sliced or diced, steamed, fried, smashed or mashed, you can be sure potatoes are delicious, versatile, filling and satisfying. But with all the varieties available, how do you know which to choose? Remember, the more starch, the fuller and fluffier the texture. The less starch, the more they hold their shape, making them perfect for stews, soups and salads. Here’s a general guide: Baking:          Russets and Yukon Gold Frying:           Russets and Yukon Gold Roasting:       fingerlings, heirlooms, red potatoes, Yukon Gold Salads:           Red, purple and white potatoes, waxy varieties and fingerlings Mashing:       Russets, Yukon Gold, red potatoes Steaming:     Red and white varieties, and Yukon Gold And here are plenty of ideas: Got a passion for a good potato? What’s your favorite recipe? Let me know!