Seed potatoes come in hundreds of varieties and different colors. Ranging from first earliest to late maturing, gardeners can harvest potatoes several times during the growing season. The earliest varieties are ready for harvest in 70 to 90 days. Mid-season potatoes mature in 90 to 120 days, and finally late varieties are ready in 123 to 140 days. When choosing seed potatoes, gardeners need to decide in what types of dishes they will use the mature potatoes. According to the U.S. Potato Board, there are six varieties of potatoes, all of which are available as seed potatoes.
Russets are the type of potato most commonly found in the grocery store and are available all year. Revered for their quality as baked and mashed potatoes, russets also are idea for french fries. These brown-skinned potatoes have a white flesh and are high in starch content.
Round whites such as White Rose are an all-purpose potato with a medium starch content. Available year 'round, the smooth, tan-skinned potatoes have a white flesh. The lower starch content of these tubers makes them suitable for potato salads as well as boiling, steaming, frying, roasting, potatoes au gratin and in soups and chowders.
Better known as fingerlings, these low-starch potatoes are as versatile as russets and round whites. The main difference with these oval-shaped tubers is their limited availability. Long whites are seasonal, available only in the spring and summer. These thin-skinned tubers, such as Rose Finn Apple, are ideal for frying, baking, boiling and roasting.
Sometimes mistakenly referred to as new potatoes, these tubers are true to their name, sporting a red skin. Flesh colors range from white to yellow and reddish. Reds such as Norland and Klondike Rose are suitable for dishes like potatoes au gratin and scalloped potatoes, and in soups and chowders. This tuber's low starch content and moist texture make it ideal for frying, steaming, boiling, roasting and in salads. Reds are available most of the year.
One of the most popular yellow potatoes, Yukon Gold, has become available all year. The dense texture of these all-purpose potatoes makes them ideal for mashing and for using in soups and chowders.
Although these tubers have pretty exterior hues, the flesh can range from white to dark blue or lavender. If preservation of color is essential, the potatoes should be microwaved. Unlike other tubers, blues and purples tend to be nutty in flavor. The medium starch content makes them suitable for steaming, boiling and baking, as well as for use in salads and as au gratin or scalloped potatoes. Blues and purples also hold up well in soups and chowders and make delicious french fries.
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